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qonox
September 22nd, 2005, 11:48 AM
I have a small pile of screenplays under my belt, and some short stories and poems. Now I wish to tackle a novel. Currently, I'm outlining the entire story in detail. And then I guess I'll just start writing it, eh? Anything I need to keep in mind while writing? Thanks.

This forum is awesome.

pcarney
September 22nd, 2005, 12:47 PM
Some advice I always struggle to follow-
DON'T STOP WRITING.
That is, don't stop writing the book. Even if you think its awful. Even if you think it isn't worth the 1's and 0's its made out of. Don't stop writing! Or, like me, you'll find yourself in your mid-30's, with no completed work, a gimp leg and a nasty addiction to cheese.

(Alright..so maybe the gimp leg and cheese addiction aren't due to my weak writing discipline- just the same, these are things to avoid!)

TheGhost
September 22nd, 2005, 02:58 PM
Something to keep in mind? Yeah, don't look back. Write until you're done with the rough draft, then you can begin to edit. Don't revise a word until the story's finished.

I'm about two or three chapters away from completing my second manuscript with this method.


Ghostie

qonox
September 22nd, 2005, 06:48 PM
TheGhost, how long does it take you to write an entire manuscript? How much time do you spend per day (on average) writing?

And do you find you write much better if the story idea haunts your brain for months prior to writing?

Thanks for your input.

TheGhost
September 22nd, 2005, 09:54 PM
Let's see. It took me about 8 months to write the first one, and I'm at 8 months on the second one. Will take a little longer this time around, but it's a larger story.

Despite my self-loathing about not getting things done, I actually have kept at the rough draft pretty consistently. I write longhand, with a goal of doing an hour a day. To enforce this I have a timer. A good bit of that time is writing, but some time is spent thinking of details or future plot developments. I prefer making it up as I go along, but with known destinations to reach. A very enjoyable process, honestly.

But the key thing for me was to not revise a word until the story was finished. You'll never get the first paragraph perfect (or close to perfect) until you know what you want to say in the last paragraph.


Ghostie

Rocket Sheep
September 22nd, 2005, 10:58 PM
Yes, yes, self-loathing, cheese... it's all spot on advice so far. Perhaps turning to alcohol will help?

ShellyS
September 22nd, 2005, 11:14 PM
Something to keep in mind? Yeah, don't look back. Write until you're done with the rough draft, then you can begin to edit. Don't revise a word until the story's finished.

I'm about two or three chapters away from completing my second manuscript with this method.


Ghostie

That's the sort of thing that would freeze me. I write in layers, as I go. Often, my first draft of a scene is dialogue. Other times, it's just not right. I revise as I go and have to be happy with what's written before my brain lets me move on. Since I don't outline (tried it, didn't like it), I need to keep my brain happy.

The danger is, of course, to try to be perfect, to keep finetuning. I don't do that. I just have to be happy for now with what I write. In a year, working around my day job and other interests and obligations, I wrote a 110,000 novel, now in full revision.

Whatever works, works. My advice is to not panic if something isn't working. Just try something else. And if you can't think of things, ask for suggestions and remember, that's all they are. Suggestions. Not rules or prescriptions. :D

JamesL
September 23rd, 2005, 04:33 AM
All I would say is, as was mentioned above, keep writing. Don't stop for even a day, as if you miss one day it'll be much easier to miss another. As the old Chinese saying goes, "If you neglect your craft for one day then it will neglect you for two." Keep disciplined, and keep writing.

Also, the whole debate about whether you should plan in detail or just write and see what happens is an old one, and everyone has a different view. There are a variety of different ways of writing. Terry Brooks plans almost obsessively, Terry Pratchett writes 15,000 words and then stands back to see where it's going. The key is to find what is right for you. One thing I would say - from experience - is to at least figure out basic plotlines and character details beforehand. Otherwise you can work yourself into a corner and not know how to get out of it.

Good luck with the novel! I'm hoping to have a crack at one too, it's just finding the time that is the real problem. ;)

qonox
September 23rd, 2005, 12:30 PM
Since I'm not disciplined enough to write every day (plus I have school and a 3-year-old), an outline serves me well because I can always go back to it for reference later on. The more detaled the outline, the better. I've tried making stories up as I go along, and I always get stuck. Although my first screenplay was written this way and I think it's quite good even 12 years on.

Writing is like painting or sculpture (which I do as well). You don't need a book to tell you how to write, you just need the tools and inspiration to do it. Now if you want to know how to write for the market, then that's different.

Holbrook
September 23rd, 2005, 02:15 PM
Writing is like painting or sculpture (which I do as well). You don't need a book to tell you how to write, you just need the tools and inspiration to do it. Now if you want to know how to write for the market, then that's different.


Can't add much to what the others have said about writing as much as you can. Hope the writing goes well....

But I would differ about not needing a book, or rather the contents of various books. Books about writing often contain nuggets of useful stuff. i.e. the tools you need. From the use of POV, to tense and hundreds of other little bits. Writing is a craft and you need to learn the basics before you start bending them ;)

Take a look at the writer's resources thread for info....