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Old 01-03-2009, 01:06 PM   #1
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Default Writers' Support Thread

Hi all!

Ufi noticed quite a few NY resolutions about writing, as did I. I guess there are several of us! Writing can be a lot like weight loss....it takes consistent effort, discipline, and long term goals.

Please feel free to join this thread to talk about your writing, set goals or challenges, share your triumphs and your frustrations, but most of all, just like our weight loss efforts, just do it!!
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Old 01-03-2009, 01:09 PM   #2
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I write mystery novels. I completed one and queried it.....got some interest in partials, and then it went nowhere. That's ok! It was a practice novel! I'm about 13000 words into a 2nd mystery novel, but I don't like the voice or the characters, so I am trying to decide what to salvage or if I should just start anew.

I am the queen of procrastination with writing. I am one of those big talkers, but to actually put my butt in the chair and bang out 500 words a day---well, that is my challenge and my failing.

I think Photo's thread in the support forum about "too busy" has really hit home for me with my writing.

I will approach my writing in 2009 the way I approach my health....consistent effort.
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Old 01-03-2009, 03:55 PM   #3
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Good for you for not giving up. I had some interest in a young adult fantasy novel, but I'm ultimately glad it didn't sell because I don't think it reflects my true voice. I may revisit it in the future. I've got about 40,000 words on my women's literature book, and it's a matter of following the chapter-by-chapter outline to finish it.
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Old 01-03-2009, 06:18 PM   #4
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I'm starting research on a somewhat historical novel I've been kicking around for a very long time.

I'm absolutely a procrastinator. It's one of my worst qualities.

I'm excited about this thread; my writer's group has fallen apart, so I don't get to talk to other writers much anymore.
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Old 01-03-2009, 08:15 PM   #5
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Writing is definitely one of my goals for this year. Sci fi and fantasy were the genres I've started novels in (I tend to lose focus at about Chapter 4).

But, I recently joined the yahoo group VBIAM, after having bought the book. Book in a Month (the yahoo group is VBIAM, and is run by the author, Victoria Lynn Schmidt). It's a format for writing the first draft of a novel in a month (I'm not following the timeline very well, but I'm keeping track of what "day" I'm on in the process).
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Old 01-03-2009, 09:31 PM   #6
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ooh i like this. the idea of writing a book in a month sounds overwhelming! i used to write a lot when i was younger- started in about middle school. I have been blocked for a very long time and I find it a major struggle to get back into it though it is one of my unfed passions in life.
I suppose it is a lot like exercise you just have to make yourself do it even when you don't want to. But when I was younger it would just flow out of me - as if someone else were doing it. I wonder what happened to that.
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Old 01-03-2009, 10:11 PM   #7
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I know what you mean, but even now if I can get past the first twenty minutes of writer's block, the words do flow - the problem is in sitting down to write for more than 20 minutes.

Book in a Month, does seem overwhelming, doesn't it, but the exercises in the book are rather cool. I recently say (but haven't bought the magazine to read it yet) that this month's Writer's Digest has an article in it about basically intentionally writing a bad or sloppy rough drafts. The gist (from browsing at the Barnes and Noble) is that you shouldn't worry about the first draft being absolutely horrible, even filled with notes for particular scenes without writing the scenes themselves.

I realized that this is what the BIAM book and yahoo group was trying to say that you won't have a book in a month, you'll have a blueprint for a book in a month (and you might write a lot of notes on what to write about in more detail later, things like "Linda meets John for the first time when he is caught shoplifting in the store she is managing...")

I never thought of doing that before. I did outline a novel once, and I've still got the outline, but it was so much like a book that I read shortly after developing it that I didn't pursue that novel, and didn't use the outline process again.

I like the BIAM premise because even as you're outlining, you're writing scenes too, so I think that's a more natural flow for me (I have a hard time outlining before I write, because I feel that I don't know what the characters are going to do, because I haven't written them yet - it's as though as I flesh out the characters, only then do I begin to understand what they would do in a given situation - so I can't write the situation until I've written a good part of the character). I'm definitely more of a character-driven writer than a plot-driven writer.

I think it's why I have a hard time getting past Chapter 4, is that by that point I've done a fair amount of introducing the character, and setting up her main goals and motivation for the plot, but I get stuck when it comes to actually creating the plot.
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Old 01-03-2009, 11:29 PM   #8
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Ooooohhhhh...a thread for ME! I started writing two novels about five years ago. I was looking at a picture of Johanna Lindsey a long time ago and thought, "What a life...get up, make a pot of coffee, sit by the 'puter and write away! No office hours, no appointments...just you, the 'puter and your cuppa. And make millions at it. Ahhhhh, what a life! I'd like a life like that!!

Anyhow...about five years ago, there I sat at my 'puter, my son on the floor watching Dora and I started pecking away and joined critique groups on Yahoo for feedback and got TONS. I read books about writing and novel structure and got to about chapter 9 and realized my son was growing up with my back to him. So, I decided to wait till he goes to kindergarden. So, now he's in second grade and I decided that now's the time. Winter is dead as a stump in my barber shop/hair salon, so I decided to set up my 'puter in the back room and peck away in between customers. I just finished a new Chapter One the other day and I have to say, I really like it. I asked my daughter to read it and give me her honest opinion if it reads like something someone that doesn't know what they're doing wrote it or if it reads like something she got at the library and she said "Library!" Last night she asked me when I'd be done with the next chapter because she wants to read more. Yay me!!

Anyhow, mine is a time-travel that goes back 100 years ago in my town. I decided to combine the three towns around me, Cape Vincent, Clayton and Alexandria Bay to Capeton Bay. This way its a fictional town loosely based on reality.

My other work in progress is a paranormal romance where a woman that is a new mother/widow is haunted by her recently deceased husband, who was jealous/drunk/ womanizing during his life and he has to show selfless love and find her a new husband to help raise his daughter in order to get to heaven, which leads to many mess ups by him as he's finding him jealous of who he knows she is supposed to end up with, and keeps steering her in the wrong direction. Its funny and incorporates a lot of my own dating experiences. I figure I must have gone through those horrible dating years for a reason, right?

Anyhow...I love to write and have no problem sitting down to do so...its finding the TIME that is tough.

Anybody have any publishing companies they are looking at? I'm looking at Dorchester.
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Old 01-04-2009, 12:44 PM   #9
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I have some agent contacts from nonfiction writing, so I'll return to those when I get my novel done, at least to start.

I'm a character writer, too. My plotting sometimes worries me.

I guess that I have a problem with appreciating long-term gratification, both with weight loss and writing. Food is such instant reward (bite, yum!), but writing and weight both require long-term efforts toward a goal that seems so far away. It bothers me to admit that about myself, as I should be able to appreciate it, but I don't know how.
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:14 PM   #10
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Hi guys! It's fun reading about your writing efforts. Right now I'm not focusing too much on publication---just getting my butt in chair and words on the screen.

Ufi, I am reminded of a quote I heard 10 years ago in nursing school. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Applies to weight loss, maintenance, novels....etc. Small efforts add up!
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:19 PM   #11
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i have no idea how to go about even getting considered for publishing. How would I start?
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:51 PM   #12
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One of my favorite writing forums is AbsoluteWrite.com

Here's what you do:
1) Write a good book
2) Rewrite it and revise it until it is the very best you can make it.
3) Write a killer query letter.
4) Research agents. Never PAY an agent. Ever. Find agents who rep your genre. Follow the directions on their websites and send your query/1st 30 pages/what they request, how they request it.
5) Query lots of agents, but only appropriate agents.
6) Start Step 1, but for Book 2. Wait for agent response on Book 1.

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Old 01-06-2009, 03:38 AM   #13
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Ha, I'm not writing a novel at the moment, but close: my master's thesis! I finished my last Master's class in October '04. Guess who still isn't technically started with their thesis? If I am not graduated by summer '10, all my work is null and void. I want to hammer this thing out by the end of this summer and defend in September when I get home to America. I had contacted the department chair in October and she was very enthusiastic with helping me while I'm overseas... yeah that was October. Still not started.

Once the bulk of the thesis is done, I'd like to start a novel or screenplay. I've been very attracted to social experiment type books--The Year of Yes, where a woman says yes to every man who asks her out and The Year of Living Biblically, where a man tries to follow the Bible as literally as possible. I'm a sucker for personal development and I'd love to step out of my comfort zone and see if I become a better person because of it. I actually had this awesome idea for an experiment--I would follow the advice of fashion magazines for a year... you know how they always say "Try this hot tip in bed!" "Try the new it hairstyle of '08" "Try our recipe for yummy hummus for your next party!" I had a hard time getting it off the ground and then one day at the bookstore I found a woman who wrote a book on my exact concept!! I bought it but haven't read it yet, it's called Up For Renewal. So uh... concept foiled!

Anyways, I thought that writing a screenplay might be interesting, I've never tried it before. This year I'm living in Asia and for two years before it, I worked in the psych ward so I have a TON of material to work with. My psych ward experience will need to be fictionalized thanks to privacy protection laws but after two years there, I think I know enough to realistically write about it (inaccurate portrayals of mental illness in films/TV/media has really become a pet peeve of mine).

....

Anyways, so that's where I'm coming from. Now here's my question: what's the hang up for you?

I mentioned this in the other writing & weight loss thread kind of, but I think I have a real fear of both success and failure. With weight loss, I think being an active person means having a faster paced life. I'll have more energy and I'll accomplish more. Right now I value my time that I use for reflection, a lot actually. When I start my thesis and get rolling on that, that's an automatic 3+ hours a week... a regular workout routine is 3+ hours a week. AND I want to write & start painting again as well... well, that's probably 3+ hours a week. Do I have 10 hours of my life to spare? Yes, but I think that digs into my thinking time, my lazy time, my inspiration time, my "me" time. You'd think that working out, finishing my degree, writing and painting would be "me" time but I guess my stubborn brain isn't used to that idea yet. On busy days where I am going from 7 am to 9 pm I feel so frazzled, like, WHOA I need to PROCESS all of this activity going on! .... that's when an hour or so that I devoted to creative writing turns into a hour or so of internet surfing, tv watching or just resting. Ha, that's how I "process."

Anyways, when I'm being lazy, I fantasize about being THERE... the place where I've gotten the professional writing gig, I've lost the weight, I've graduated... I don't know how to wrap my head around it that I CAN get there. The road is long and maybe boring and tedious but there is a path to getting there. I guess my problem is that the road is not marked. I fear going forward with any of these goals because I think I'll get so far and fail. But I also fear success... my life really needs to be turned upside down to be successful--will it be worth it?

I'm happy for this thread and inspired by all of you writers! Please continue sharing and hopefully we can all motivate each other.
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Old 01-06-2009, 11:22 AM   #14
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Hi joyra,

I think you bring up a lot of good points. If it helps, running is really my reflection time. I work out mental stress, plot points, pray, and sometimes just enjoy the moment of being outside without having to do 9 million things.
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Old 01-06-2009, 10:35 PM   #15
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I wish I understood my problem better. I like to write. I like to have written. Really, though, it seems like a lot of my writing comes from the next demand rather than the novel that no one is demanding (although a few people who know me have asked about). I don't want to be fat any more. I can imagine myself in thin clothes, etc. It's the daily pattern that's so hard to stick with. Maybe it's the lifestyle that's scary? Or living the lifestyle and not having it be what I imagine? I dunno, and I'm struggling to figure out the questions that I need to ask to discover the answers.
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