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Old 07-07-2012, 07:43 AM   #31
kennyc
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I wonder how many programmers there are among us here. I have have been writing software since 1983...starting to wonder if there is over lap in the skill set for writing software and books.
I'm thinking it's desperation! A need to balance raw logic with chaotic creativity.

P.S. I've always thought the overlap is creativity. Many don't see/think of that in the software world, but it is very much true. And there are some similarities in writing software and writing in creating the piece-parts that fit together and support the overall objective of the story or program.

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Old 07-07-2012, 08:07 AM   #32
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[...]P.S. I've always thought the overlap is creativity. Many don't see/think of that in the software world, but it is very much true. And there are some similarities in writing software and writing in creating the piece-parts that fit together and support the overall objective of the story or program.
I tend to agree, though there are other factors too. One is simply the habit of writing (and I think this is a big one). Other factors include: the ability to sit and concentrate on one thing for long hours (which is a polite way of saying: being happy to sit on your butt for large parts of the day ); and a compulsion to keep gnawing at a problem until you find the solution.
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Old 07-07-2012, 08:08 AM   #33
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You've got me; but I definitely fall into the latter camp. I often think of the former camp is simply fooling themselves: Ascribing characters that the author created to telling the author's story, out of the author's control, sounds mildly schizophrenic. But yeah, whatever works.
In my experience (plotting number 7 now), the planning/plotting is absolutely necessary before I start writing. I attempted my first book without any planning in advance - well, very little. It took me three years to get it to a place where I was happy with it, and that was *after* I learned about story structure and reformatted it appropriately.

Now, with planning a "must do" I can write a well structured and (hopefully) engaging page-turning in anywhere from 6 to 9 months.

So, yeah, whatever works for you, but in my case (a middle-aged guy just starting, and trying t make up for lost time), the faster the better.
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Old 07-07-2012, 08:11 AM   #34
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I tend to agree, though there are other factors too. One is simply the habit of writing (and I think this is a big one). Other factors include: the ability to sit and concentrate on one thing for long hours (which is a polite way of saying: being happy to sit on your butt for large parts of the day ); and a compulsion to keep gnawing at a problem until you find the solution.
Wonder if there is a link because of how much READING you do as a developer.
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Old 07-07-2012, 08:12 AM   #35
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This is how I work.

Sure I create it all, but its different ways of getting there... So building on Billy Bob he uses his bat to adjust the attitude of the bar tender ... well of course the bar tender is a smart fellow and has a gun and his bar hop in the back sees the whole thing. She is the kind that would call the cops. And so on.
Sure, but even within that, you have a lot of control... for instance:

The bartender doesn't have a clear shot due to panicking patrons, spoiling his aim; he uses a shotgun, but forgot to reload a chamber after discharging it, so his first trigger-pull has no result; the barhop is knocked over by a running patron, and so doesn't see what happens; and Billy Bob has time to dive through the plate glass window before being perforated.

OR: Because of panicking patrons, Billy Bob and an innocent bystander get shot by the not-too-particular bartender; the bartender tells the bellhop to call for an ambulance, not the cops; then the bartender swears because everyone else has run off without paying their bills.

In both cases, the characters can act true-to-form, but circumstances around them still dictate their specific reactions. If you pick the right circumstances, it can help to bring out the aspects of the character that you want to highlight, such as a panicky bar forcing the otherwise-nasty bartender to hold his fire for fear of hitting an innocent patron... or showing his callousness by shooting through them.
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Old 07-07-2012, 08:25 AM   #36
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Sure, but even within that, you have a lot of control... for instance:

The bartender doesn't have a clear shot due to panicking patrons, spoiling his aim; he uses a shotgun, but forgot to reload a chamber after discharging it, so his first trigger-pull has no result; the barhop is knocked over by a running patron, and so doesn't see what happens; and Billy Bob has time to dive through the plate glass window before being perforated.

OR: Because of panicking patrons, Billy Bob and an innocent bystander get shot by the not-too-particular bartender; the bartender tells the bellhop to call for an ambulance, not the cops; then the bartender swears because everyone else has run off without paying their bills.

In both cases, the characters can act true-to-form, but circumstances around them still dictate their specific reactions. If you pick the right circumstances, it can help to bring out the aspects of the character that you want to highlight, such as a panicky bar forcing the otherwise-nasty bartender to hold his fire for fear of hitting an innocent patron... or showing his callousness by shooting through them.
I see that as a function of setting the rest of the scene. Is it a upscale juice bar or a backwater biker bar? What about an upscale biker juice bar? A bunch of yuppies might run for cover while a bunch of ruffians might join the fight. What if it was cop appreciation night? Ladies night? Free beer night? Any of those would have dramatic impact on how it plays out. Once the scene is set, the story grows out of that.

So, not sure how anyone else works. But I start with some major general goal in mind, then put my characters in their places and the story starts to grow out of that. I write iteratively, which is that i write a few chapters, then I go back to the beginning of the book and rewrite. Then I write some new chapters and then I go back to the beginning and rewrite.

Would an outline save me work? No, not even close because I just do not think in outlines. I think in pictures. Just not wired for outlining. I am in grad school, so when I have to submit an out line, I write the paper first, then go back and create the outline.
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:11 AM   #37
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I write iteratively, which is that i write a few chapters, then I go back to the beginning of the book and rewrite. Then I write some new chapters and then I go back to the beginning and rewrite.

Would an outline save me work?
Well, with an outline I don't have to rewrite from the beginning every time I finish a chapter or two; so I'd have to say GODS, YES! it would save you work. But if planning in advance and writing linearly removes your creativity or impetus, by all means, do whatever turns you on.
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:23 AM   #38
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Well, with an outline I don't have to rewrite from the beginning every time I finish a chapter or two; so I'd have to say GODS, YES! it would save you work. But if planning in advance and writing linearly removes your creativity or impetus, by all means, do whatever turns you on.
heh, you cut my quote

Quote:
Would an outline save me work? No, not even close because I just do not think in outlines. I think in pictures. Just not wired for outlining. I am in grad school, so when I have to submit an out line, I write the paper first, then go back and create the outline.
I forgot to mention that I use outlines for teaching and speaking. I even use, gasp... power point sometimes! They are useful in those cases to help make sure I cover all the facts/ideas I have intention to cover.

That process is also iterative...

Research - taking notes in outline format
Read over out line a few times to seat facts
Research - dif source materiel, and re work outline with new data
Read over outline a few times to seat facts
Repeat until done

Then I set aside the outline and write out a message as if I was speaking it. Using conversational language and tone fitting the audience. I iteratively right that paragraph by paragraph.

Then when it it time to speak, I bring my outline just in case I forget a fact, or quote but almost never look at it during my talk. By then I know what I want to say and I let the emotion of the audience help steer specifics. I do not always follow the outline in order, just depends how I feel things are going. Speaking live is more dynamic then writing. IMO

So would an outline save me work in a story? Nope, it is just not the way I think.

So in summary: The outline is useful for storing researched facts, not for making stuff up. At least not to me.
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:41 AM   #39
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Gawd NO! Not POWERPOINT!!!!

(this makes me think of that over-hyped book by A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan where chapter 12 is a Power Point presentation)
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:43 AM   #40
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Gawd NO! Not POWERPOINT!!!!
That is the exact response Power Point generates from my fell software developers at my day job.
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:47 AM   #41
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That is the exact response Power Point generates from my fell software developers at my day job.
We used to joke (though it wasn't really) about a co-worker that couldn't talk without a whiteboard and drawing shtuff all over it...
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:50 AM   #42
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We used to joke (though it wasn't really) about a co-worker that couldn't talk without a whiteboard and drawing stuff all over it...
It really is two different worlds... I do not show power point when planing/working with my software developers at work.

However

I DO heavily use my whiteboard when teaching, and I DO use power point when doing public speaking.

Gotta be adaptable.
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:16 AM   #43
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Yes, but how much of it is FICTION!
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:06 PM   #44
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I wonder how many programmers there are among us here. I have have been writing software since 1983...starting to wonder if there is over lap in the skill set for writing software and books.
I'm a developer. I started out in Basic in the late 80's, then went to C/C++, a little Fortran (not a fun language), and then migrated to Perl, and eventually PHP when the web came about. I find web programming to be a lot more fun than desktop development.
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:22 PM   #45
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I started with basic as well, but earlier than you young whippersnappers. Early 70's on a minicomputer of some kind that had several teletype terminals attached. Lots of Intel Machine language early and most recently as a SW Architect on Java-based Cable/Satellite TV billing system..... All great training for Novel Writing!
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