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Old 11-05-2011, 10:39 PM   #61
teh603
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I think rule 5 should be completely ignored, you put it on the market forever. I dislike when books I love disappear and dont come back... or dont exist in ebook form! But thats just being selfish
I think he was referring fairly specifically to selling his work to a publisher.

And yes to whoever it was who called Heinlein pedantic; just read the first chapter or two of Have Space Suit, Will Travel for a good dose of it.

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As with everyone else I think that rule three is wrong, at least for me. I rewrite constantly as I go. Just finished another re-write pass, and the first draft is not written. I guess I just have more of an iterative writing process then he did?
Well, when he was writing, a manuscript had to be typed by hand on a mechanical typewriter, and the only way you got a copy for yourself was to use carbon paper. Not exactly my idea of fun, having done that. I still have my mechanical typewriter somewhere, too.

Antique hoarding aside, it took a lot of effort to produce a new manuscript, and you had to literally rewrite the whole thing when you had a meaningful plot change. A minor change to your pagination meant you had to retype at least the whole chapter, and heaven help you if you did it while using the trick with the massive spool of 8" butcher paper.

Lot of work for a minor plot tweak, no?
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Old 11-05-2011, 11:27 PM   #62
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Lot of work for a minor plot tweak, no?
Yes, which is why I started with pencil and paper back in the day before computers. I never released any of that, but changing the story with pencil and paper was far easier then type writters (though I at least had electric ones)
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:57 AM   #63
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I had a long post typed, and somehow erased it. I guess that's a sign I shouldn't post it. LOL

I like seeing how some of you write. I feel it is part inspiration and part perspiration. Mostly perspiration, I think, but without the ideas the perspiration turns out VERY BADLY.

Number three? Definitely need to rewrite. Who the heck can get all phrasing and ideas right the very first time? Or not have a character contradict themselves, or even lose track of who is speaking in a conversation?

This is all coming from an amateur writer. So take it for what it's worth.
First This is not my long (by now) awaited summation and critique on "Inspiration." I was just checking to see what was percolating among the participants of the thread.

Second mrscoach I must confess to have stolen your avatar. My wife now has it (enlarged somewhat) as the background for her computer screen. She loves penguins. Quite a lot of them on this site.

Third A writer should never be overly concerned about criticism to himself or his methods. Criticism should always be considered in the light of being helpful to a writer. Through our work we put ourselves out there to be judged. Whether the judgement is correct or incorrect is something else.

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Old 11-06-2011, 05:48 AM   #64
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In the meantime, let's try something new: Discussing how people do this writing thing. We've been flogging "inspiration" long enough... maybe we should move on to "perspiration," i.e., the work involved in writing.

I'll start: Writing, for me, isn't that hard. The hard part is figuring out what to write, and how to write it. Outlines, character designs, element notes, drafts, all that has to be done before I can write the first word of a story. Once I have all that, and I figure out where in the story to start, the words just start to flow, and the flow doesn't stop until I'm at the end.
I'm somewhat the reverse of you. I have to just START, from go, with nothing. I don't outline, I don't do character design, and I don't figure out the plot, until I've already begun. Once I'm off and running, I do that stuff.

I frequently wind up deleting the opening of whatever I'm writing, though. Perhaps that's how I "outline." Just put words on the page and let the ideas and the characters grow organically, then snip and shape them into a nicer-looking hedge.

I just can't know any of those things until the mood and sweep of the story has oriented itself. And I feel like that's something I can't plan for - I'm not sure what I'm going for until I get there.

I also write a lot of random snipets of prose that wind up being integrated into something else later. I'll often spend quite a long time getting hit with random spells of, dare I say it, inspiration, and writing short prose pieces. And then at some point I'll gather all those ideas together and fit them into a story - because they belonged together to begin with. I just didn't know it yet.

But, much more frequently than that creative, drifting process, I'm writing articles on deadline. I don't outline for these either, apart from research - I have the style so well-memorized that I rarely think about it. It just flows. It has to - it's due in an hour!

I've been writing since I was a wee child, and really, it's only starting to get good now. I can always write. Even when I don't want to. My voice and style is getting to the point where it's well-established enough that I can always churn out a good piece. I'm almost never happy with anything, but the only thing that matters is that it does what it's supposed to.

In general, I'm a disorganized but prolific writer. I'm a scatter brain with 14 thousand writing folders on my computer and thousands of paper pages flitting around my room, whose editor is constantly vacillating between tearing his hair out and weeping for joy. Somehow I manage to get the job done, but to this day I'm not sure how.

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Old 11-06-2011, 05:57 AM   #65
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Thank you for that SmokeAndMirrors! Sounds very much like my to article writing in my "hayday" such as it was. I could generally crank out my Science and Technical articles in a couple of days and the format/style/organization was second-nature.

My fiction and poetry which I feel is my most successful to date also came from a "just start it" approach to get the feeling/emotion/story on paper and then (not always but often) revise to make it stronger.

Thanks for the inspiration!

and now the famous quote:

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” - Goethe

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Old 11-06-2011, 09:44 AM   #66
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and now the famous quote:

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” - Goethe
And now, a dose of reality:

I tried to follow the advice of Goethe's quote. It resulted in my first failed career choice.

There are no guarantees that a person can create something that's worth something... no matter how hard they may want to. Just a fact of life. Keep it in mind, before you wake up one day and discover you've just spent 20 years you won't get back--on a boondoggle.
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:47 AM   #67
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And now, a dose of reality:

I tried to follow the advice of Goethe's quote. It resulted in my first failed career choice.

There are no guarantees that a person can create something that's worth something... no matter how hard they may want to. Just a fact of life. Keep it in mind, before you wake up one day and discover you've just spent 20 years you won't get back--on a boondoggle.
True, but if you never tried, you might always have second thoughts and regrets.

My first run at being a writer occurred when I was laid off from my (longest held) job. I took all my savings, cashed in my 401k and gave 'er hell! I was able to make some significant strides in the two years it took me to use up that money, make some sales (particularly of non-fiction) and a few fiction sales, but was not able to get any significant fiction (which was my real dream) published and certainly was unable to make enough money from my writing to sustain my (and my kids) lifestyle (even a subsistence level) at the time. I went back to the corporate world and vowed that the writing I would do would be the things I wanted/enjoyed/had to do, not writing for money/to make a living. Since that time I've written mostly poetry - had a number of things published but have really not made any effort to publish or sell any of my writing.

I find myself currently at a point where I'm (once again?) sick of the corporate world and looking for alternatives ... still a number of years before I could successfully (if at all) retire .. so I've been considering getting the writing game going again, but am having a heck of a time with it. I do feel I'm getting closer but have yet to produce/publish anything of note since I began this phase a year or so ago. My thought is that if I could earn some money from the writing I just might be able to squeak by and slide into retirement and be able to 'do what I love.'
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Old 11-06-2011, 05:08 PM   #68
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My thought is that if I could earn some money from the writing I just might be able to squeak by and slide into retirement and be able to 'do what I love.'
That was my thought when I started writing, too. At this point, I'm assuming that I will simply not retire, as I have serious doubts writing will provide enough of an income in this anti-creator atmosphere to leave my day job.

As to my first failed career choice, I do have regrets and second thoughts. I regret that I tried to make a living as a commercial illustrator, and I wish I'd taken steps to move into a more sensible career path sooner. Most of my regrets come from being stupid, and in pursuing illustration as a career, I was being a moron.
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Old 11-06-2011, 05:21 PM   #69
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Still a good, honorable field which I have much respect for (and was tempted to go into myself at least once or twice -- see my website if you're interested).

You're right about the money from writing (I know we've discussed this in other threads so won't dig into it) and I'm certainly not counting on ANYTHING from it -- particularly given my experience some years ago, just thinking that given the changing publishing environment there is certainly opportunity out there as well as significant challenges.
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:46 PM   #70
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I think the change in the writing and publishing industries is going to be as significant as the advent of the printing press. The scales are shifting and the old standard of how a writer makes a living is being drawn and quartered from every direction.

I count myself profoundly lucky that I am young as this change is happening. I know some people have considerably more dire opinions of what the future of writing will be like, but change has happened before. This is not the apocalypse. And already, we're seeing signs of positive shifts for new, aspiring, and indie writers.

It'll be hard for a while, as old business models collapse, old businesses resist, and new business models haven't fully matured. But that's change for ya. It's not always pretty.

When the dust settles, I think the prospects for writers (and readers) will be brighter than ever. That may take a few years. Maybe a decade. But even in a decade, I'll still be young enough to take full advantage of it if I work hard enough.

As a writer, it boggles my mind to consider how lucky I am to be alive and young right now.
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Old 11-07-2011, 01:41 AM   #71
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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe has been quoted above and I too am a fan of Goethe. In fact I used some of the story of Faust for a post in the old DRM thread that was killed by the moderators.

I have a writing table in my home office with a framed picture of a storm on it. At the bottom of the picture is my favorite Goethe quote.

"A talent is formed in stillness, a character in the worlds torrent."
-Goethe


So friends a "stillness" (a period of time for contemplation) has been granted for you to consider the question given in post #27 even amid the "torrent" (storm) that some have brought to this thread.

Anyone?

Dare I say "Go on. You can do it."?
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:44 AM   #72
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I think the change in the writing and publishing industries is going to be as significant as the advent of the printing press. The scales are shifting and the old standard of how a writer makes a living is being drawn and quartered from every direction.

I count myself profoundly lucky that I am young as this change is happening. I know some people have considerably more dire opinions of what the future of writing will be like, but change has happened before. This is not the apocalypse. And already, we're seeing signs of positive shifts for new, aspiring, and indie writers.

It'll be hard for a while, as old business models collapse, old businesses resist, and new business models haven't fully matured. But that's change for ya. It's not always pretty.

When the dust settles, I think the prospects for writers (and readers) will be brighter than ever. That may take a few years. Maybe a decade. But even in a decade, I'll still be young enough to take full advantage of it if I work hard enough.

As a writer, it boggles my mind to consider how lucky I am to be alive and young right now.
Not so bad for us old foggies either!
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:48 AM   #73
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I picked up this little book I've had for some time (2003 the receipt says) by Robert Wolf - Jump Start - How to Write From Everyday Life.

also re-reading "Creating Short Fiction" by Damon Knight

Good stuff.

Anyone else have particular favorite writing books that you treasure of find very useful in doing this writing thing?
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:21 AM   #74
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Anyone else have particular favorite writing books that you treasure of find very useful in doing this writing thing?

Would not say I "treasure" it, but Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is a great resource.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:21 AM   #75
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Moderator Notice

frahse, the topic of discussion has now moved beyond post #27.

You are now advised to stay on the current topic of discussion which involves the idea of 'perspiration,' (the work involved in writing), and one in which the members are now actively discussing with enthusiasm and interest.

No further comments on this issue are necessary.

Last edited by Dr. Drib; 11-07-2011 at 06:24 AM.
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