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Old 11-23-2006, 12:29 PM   #1
Bob Russell
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How many people want to write a book?

First off, let me just say that I've always wanted to write a book. A novel, I mean. Not because I think it will make me rich. And not because I think I would be such a great writer that I have to share my literary prowess with the world.

In fact, I have to write, re-write, and re-write again just to try to make my words pleasant to read. But, like most of us, I feel that I have experienced life in unusual ways, and have a unique perspective on this world. In a way, I want to do the writing analog of abstract art... I'd like to pull out a perspective of the real world in words and stories that highlight interesting things, just like abstract art highlights interesting characteristics of the visual world. In other words, I feel like I have something to say, and a way to say it that isn't very common. Only problem is that I don't know how to write yet! I am convinced that learning to write takes a lot of time and practice and study and reading. Quite a hurdle. I've even bought a boatload of (paper) books from Amazon to help me learn the practical side of writing. I haven't read them yet. I suppose learning about writing is a lot less intimidating than actually doing it!

So, having now bored almost everyone with this post, I am certain that the remaining readers are exactly the ones that I'm interested to hear from! Specifically, people who can relate to what I've said. Who have always wanted to write, but just never got around to it.

You probably have these kinds of thought in your mind... "I know I could write a good book, after some practice." or "My books would be a lot more fun to read than most of the books out there now." or "I have something I've just got to say.", or even "I've always wanted to write, and someday I really will do it... maybe."

What about it? Is this the way that everyone feels? I suspect there is something deep down in everyone's heart that says "I should write a book."

BTW, I'm not looking for encouragement to write. That's a motivation that, if real, will drive me to write on it's own. What I really am curious about is how other people feel about wanting to write. Especially with all the book readers we have here, there must be many people with writing on their mind at times.

In fact, I remember a couple of people talking about doing the National Novel Writing Month activity in the past. (But I don't know if anyone has ever finished it!) If I hadn't been so busy, I would have done it myself. It looks like a great way to force yourself to write, no matter how bad, and nobody ever has to see the words!

So how about it? Anyone out there dream of becoming a writer?
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Old 11-23-2006, 01:10 PM   #2
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I would love to write a book -- but I am too slow. It takes me ages just to write a single paragraph. A whole book? I'd probably need more than one lifetime.
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Old 11-23-2006, 01:25 PM   #3
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You've read through my heart Bob! I have this story all cooked up in memory. I'm setting up space around me, time wise and physically to get it out. I've started the research on the subjects I'll approach and wrote down some snippets, just to see.

This book will be free to anyone who asks for it because it concerns a cause dear to me. But I have to write it first. I plan to do it in English and then translate it myself to French, my native language. I feel it to be necessary because I've read so many stories that lost precision when the ideas were not properly conveyed during translation.

I'm reinstructing myself in grammar through both languages; quite a task. So much has faded from my schooling days, but it does pop back in fast with help from reading. Once in a while when a good work comes along I take notes as I read.

I'm pretty sure a lot of our fellow bloggers do have a taste for words.
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Old 11-23-2006, 01:58 PM   #4
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To write a book, novel, novella... that's the dream, isn't it? For now, I don't have the time, peace & quiet to do it the way I envision. I'm fulfilling that need somewhat by proofreading for others. I totally respect those who do write, even more the brave souls who take up the challenge of the NaNoWriMo. Talk about pressure!
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Old 11-23-2006, 02:00 PM   #5
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It's funny... I didn't start off wanting to be a writer. I wrote out of the desire to write something that no one else has written... or that I couldn't find... that I thought was a good story. I sort of "needed" to get it out. It was a creative outlet, like my illustration, and it was satisfying when it worked out.

Then, I discovered my writing was better than my illustration, and that encouraged me to keep it up.

I wrote my first novel about 15 years ago. I did not start trying to sell them until last year, partially, because I was having more fun writing than going through the publishing grinder!

The hard part, as always, is setting aside the time to do it. But if you really need to write, somehow, you find the time.
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Old 11-23-2006, 02:04 PM   #6
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Thanks Steve!
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Old 11-23-2006, 02:08 PM   #7
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Steve, got a question: How do you decide which story to write, which idea needs to be explored? I've got too many ideas, rolling around my head, but I can't choose which one to develop first. Or is it as some writers say that the stories or characters choose you, screaming to be told?
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Old 11-23-2006, 02:10 PM   #8
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Write a series raevyn1!
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Old 11-23-2006, 02:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yvanleterrible
Write a series raevyn1!
Okay, okay. Thanks for believing I can even write something first. Just contemplating for now...
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Old 11-23-2006, 02:40 PM   #10
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For about two years, I wrote newspaper and magazine articles professionally. I think I did okay. I got paid and could command better pay as time went on. I found writing, in general, pretty torturous. I filled the whole process with self-doubt and angst. Blech.

The best article I wrote was for Louisiana Life. They liked it so much they put it in the Best Of edition for that year. It was also the most painful. I had wanted to create interesting segues between sections and, for the most part, I think I succeeded. But every single word was filled with self-doubt. The pain was so great, I did not feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of it, just relief.

I think that episode really showed me that I just didn't care to make it as a writer.

As a part of this discussion, some professional writers say that one thing any writer must find out about herself is whether she "wants to write" or "wants to have written." (Or neither!) For some folks, it's enough to have written one novel and she doesn't want to necessarily be a writer.

Last edited by tcv; 11-23-2006 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 11-23-2006, 03:20 PM   #11
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Count me in as a member of Moonlighting Novelists Anonymous. Problem is that writing a novel takes a lot of time and I can't really muster the energy to do this while working another job. My plan is to work out a draft over the next few years and save enough money to take a year-long sabbatical and actually write it.
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Old 11-23-2006, 04:37 PM   #12
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Bob, I think you hit the mark with this one...:-)

I've been playing with the idea of writing a book since before I even COULD write...really! When I was a little kid, I went to the Typewriter and actually started my first book...I never got beyond the first line of course since I couldn't actually write yet, but I had the drive to do it...my mother never gets tired of telling that story...

From then on I've had occasional "attacks", but I never managed to write a book. I did some short stories, the last notable one was for the school-paper and actually came out quite well (if I say so myself). My problem is, that I am not somebody who creates a plotline and then fills it with details.
When I had to do presentations at school, I usually didn't prepare any text. I just read a bit about the topic and then made a littel handout for my fellow students. Then I went there and just opened my mouth and waited what would come out.
It worked every time...
It's a bit of a strange feeling, doing a presentation and not knowing what you are going to say, but it's the only way I could do it. The more I wrote down aforehand, the harder the presentation was for me...I can stumble my way through a text I read from paper, but I can wax eloquent (excuse my old english...^^) on most topics with only the slightest idea of what I'm talking about...

My other problem when contemplating the whole book-thing is language.
I'm not a native english speaker. I grew up in an english/german speaking society and thus have more knowledge of the english language than many of my peers, but my parents were both germans so my roots are still more on the german side. However, I believe that english is the far superior language and writing something in english seems the better choice...if it were not for the fact that my english is probably not sufficient for the story I would like to create...

I have more than enough ideas, but I think I should maybe try a short-story before I spend all that time and effort on a novel that would probably be dissappointing for everybody...especially since there is so much great literatures out there.
I just read "Farmer Giles of Ham" by J.R.R. Tolkien...it's a little lighthearted story, but it is still a work of art...and a beautiful one. Even childrens stories like the "Chronicles of Narnia" by C.J. Lewis are so beautifully written that they make me want more, make me want to create more of the same stuff, but also make me realise that the way those "wordsmiths" can spin a tale will probably be far beyond my reach for ever.
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Old 11-23-2006, 08:55 PM   #13
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Your english seems pretty good to me, CommanderROR.

I actually wanted to be an author. I realized that I was unlikely to make a living at it to begin with, so I settled on journalism as something in the same neighborhood, that would pay the bills until the fiction career got going.

Then I realized a few things: that I wasn't related to anyone in the journalism industry, which would hurt my chances of getting work; that I didn't want to be the token conservative in the newsroom; and most importantly, I don't like journalism.

So, I went to engineering (note that not a lot of your journalism credits xfer to engineering), and I've ended up in programming.

In the meantime, I've learned some things about myself. I like to think I put words together reasonably well, and I can see scenes in my mind that would be great parts of stories, but I just don't have any stories to tell. (sigh)

So I'd love to write a novel, or several, but I just don't think I'm a writer.
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Old 11-24-2006, 08:47 AM   #14
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A story is usually built up. Forget about the myth of the person that has a complete story in mind, it's possible in a best case scenario but quite unlikely. How often have I read a story that changed tone as you feel the author found the right passage along the way! This is where you see a good one. Having been trained as an artist I can see similarities in the creative process necessary for the building of a story. We have all heard of the X-Ray shots revealing different compositions underneath the finished work of a famous artist. Remembering this gives insight to any longwinded undertaking.

Thankfully for newbies, we have word processing to permit a more deftly concealed rewriting! Remember the old movie where there is a garbage pail full of crumpled paper?

In conclusion a stone mason friend of mine - aged gentleman - told me one day. " You can see a good cabinetmaker in the way he hides the defects he created ".
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Old 11-24-2006, 10:16 AM   #15
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Heh, I've heard the same thing, only about wallpaper hangers.

I understand what you're saying about it not needing to spring fully formed, Athena-like from the brow, but it seems that at least a basic plot would be rather necessary, otherwise, it's not really a story.

Besides, I'm mindful of the tenant that a writer is someone who writes, that if you must write you're a writer, regardless of whether anyone ever reads it.
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