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sifutofu
October 26th, 2006, 08:18 PM
Hello, all...
I'm a new user...hoping to make good friends here...to support, and be supported.
Today, I came to fully appreciate the versatility and power of a chapter outline...the familiar passion erupted once again in my core, and my pencil fairly flew. I had an idea of where each chapter was going; I could plan action for each chapter...and now I can overlay all of this with the inner musings of my main character. Before, I felt as if I was groping...my story getting mired up in backstory...should I write in first person? Should this be written in a dark fashion, or should I add humor? Etc., etc., etc. ....
The continuous, unexpected need for research constantly interrupted the creative flow, but the chapter outline exposed areas of research in which I was weak. I will patch these holes in my story with research, and there should be far less surprises, and more flow, heated by the flame of creative passion.
After seven months, I have a first draft almost completed, but most of this time has been spent not writing so much as LEARNING TO BE A PROLIFIC, CONSISTENTLY PASSIONATE WRITER. It's been quite an adventure.
I'm hoping to make some good friends here...
Donald

arodace
November 29th, 2006, 03:24 AM
Being a fairly new member in SFF i'm also looking from some friends. Anyway, i know how you feel as well. For my own first draft, I coulnd't help but notice that the tone was almost similar to that of Tolkien's, so I tried to spice it up with my second draft. I mean, I mayy not have been comepltetly devoted to my writing, since I'm a student and being busy with studying. Anyway, i've finally resolved on a bit more humour with dark plots as well. I'm trying to blend as many techniques as possible into my second draft.
Good to hear from you:cool:

Hobbit
November 29th, 2006, 03:48 AM
Welcome both of you.

It's good to see ambition - best of luck!

I've moved this thread to the Writing Forum where you may have kindred spirits.

Hobbit

Dazzlinkat
November 29th, 2006, 10:22 AM
Hello, Sifutofu and Arodace, and welcome to the Writing Forum!

Situtofu: I too, need an outline to write. So do others on this forum. However, there are also those people who can write better without an outline on here as well. Personally, I think finding the system that works best for you is the most important because, if you can't be comfortable with the way your writing, you'll never be able to write. This can leave your frustrated and dissappointed or even make you stop writing all together so congrats on finding your personal system!

Arodace: Realising you are writing like a favorite author is great and even better when you decide to take your own path.

This is a great place to learn all about writing and everyone here is friendly and helpful. I am, too, a new writer and, because of what I have learned here I have been able to forge ahead with my own writing. Course, I am still an extreme novice :D

sifutofu
December 1st, 2006, 09:03 PM
...anybody ever read Stephen King's "On Writing...A Memoir of the Craft"? I think this man is deliciously disturbed, yet still, a bit too edgy for me. However, the last two chapters of this book helped me a lot (the first five were an autobiography of King's early years, and, of course, the accident was explained in great detail...).
King had some verrryyy impactful things to say about writing, which I identified with immediately.
On another note, one of the things which has helped me most were the Seinfeld episodes, depicting a procrastinating George and Jerry, who always seemed to find a reason to slam down their pencils, succumbing to each and every distraction. They were both tormented and titillated by their shared dream of writing a new NBC pilot about nothing. I think of this scenario whenever I am faced with these same temptations to procrastinate, and it drives me onward. Janet Evanovich, who, despite any shortcomings in her grammar, helped tremendously by simply describing a typical day in her "writing lair", with only her PC, cheese doodles, and a squawking parrot for company. There is something romantic about this scenario. You could feel she was describing her own personal heaven, and I readily identified with her...
I have labored in performance of many menial, low-paying jobs for much of my life, regardless of how sick, and tired I was on any given day. Does my writing not deserve this same dedication? These revelations have helped me focus, and stay on track, in pit-bull fashion (most days...).
King claims he has rarely worked from an outline, preferring to build a novel off the premise, "what if?..." I found this fascinating, though I'm not so sure it will help me with the particular story I'm writing. I prefer to unearth a towering, skeletal leviathan for an outline, packing thick sinew upon him, till his full power is realized, he roars, and thunders into both the light and dark realms of the reader's imagination.

sifutofu
December 1st, 2006, 10:16 PM
...writing will become your own personal drug, your ecstacy. "Breathe life into your dreams, and your dreams will breathe life into you."
I sat in the frosty chill of a black, Scandinavian night, striving mightily to melt the frost from the fallen log beneath me. I stared into the flames of a warming fire licking hapless snowflakes from the misty air. The emerging blade to my left alarmed me at first, the lethal, single fang of iron glowing yellow with need. A stout sharpening stone was drawn along the already razor-sharp edge.
"You move like a clumsy stag through the trees," I said, choking back the first-fear which had constricted my throat. The dark, hulking figure shuddered with what I hoped was a silent laugh. "If you were ready for me, then why do you quake in fear like a woman?", said my arrogant, yet lethal wraith. "I created you," I said, my composure regained. "I can hear the rush of blood through your veins...the life that I gave you. I have grown to love you like a brother, but have a care! You embark upon no quest not already concieved by me; no woman rakes her nails across your chest whose ears have not first been warmed by my whispered seductions. No coins clink in your pouch that I have not rained down upon you. Your lungs are filled with my breath, your path I have cleared before you. It is wise to make pleasant fellowship with your maker".
"True, that", said my brooding companion. "You gave me life, indeed. And yet, do you not, even now, feel the strain upon these feeble restraints which bind me? How much longer might I be contained? You have carried me as an infant; now my need for succor is diminished. Cling fast to ME, now, maker, for a wild ride lies before us. You gave me life, true, but I revel in that life, growing stronger, with every stroke of your pen upon the page of possibility."
He stood, gazing down at me, firelight burning from his deep-set eyes, and I knew then it was true. He had taken on a life of his own. I was both dismayed and delighted at the same time. What had been unleashed upon this world I had made? The answering hiss of his blade returning to the velvet refuge of the scabbard evaporated the icy fear in my belly. As I looked up at him, he smiled, then bowed before me. His mount whinnied just behind us in the darkness. "Where to now, my father?", he asked, kissing my hand in reverence. I stood, grunting, as I tried to heft him to his feet. "To struggles against impossible odds...to astonishing feats of heroism which will put the old gods to shame; to bitter enemies who will be taught a new way; to women who will want you, yet know your heart belongs to another."
He turns abruptly. "Come", he says brusquely, "I hear the call." We vanished together into a world of black and cold, swirling white

Dawnstorm
December 2nd, 2006, 09:39 AM
...anybody ever read Stephen King's "On Writing...A Memoir of the Craft"? I think this man is deliciously disturbed, yet still, a bit too edgy for me. However, the last two chapters of this book helped me a lot (the first five were an autobiography of King's early years, and, of course, the accident was explained in great detail...).
King had some verrryyy impactful things to say about writing, which I identified with immediately.

I've read On Writing. The book has increased my respect for King. The biography, I think, is important to the parts about writing.

I disagree with King about almost everything he says, but then that's probably because he likes Elements of Style, which I dislike for claiming objectivity and promoting taste. (And muddling grammar...)

Also, it showed me why, on the whole, I don't enjoy King's books (read a lot of them as a teen, so I know what I'm talking about). King shines in his short stories (if they're not the ones written for effect).


King claims he has rarely worked from an outline, preferring to build a novel off the premise, "what if?..." I found this fascinating, though I'm not so sure it will help me with the particular story I'm writing. I prefer to unearth a towering, skeletal leviathan for an outline, packing thick sinew upon him, till his full power is realized, he roars, and thunders into both the light and dark realms of the reader's imagination.

Stories, for me, have a long incubation period before their born. That's planning of sorts.

I've improvised short stories on title alone in the past, though. It's fun, and sometimes yields great results.

I need to plan novels; if I don't they branch out and branch out and branch out and branch again into branching branches, each branch branching...

***

As for writing: I'm either a word-hunter or word-prey. Don't ask me which...

sifutofu
December 2nd, 2006, 06:00 PM
It seems awkward and unrealistic to expect help in writing from Strunk and White's guide. In the throes of composition, should I expect to say to myself, "wait a sec! This is all wrong. Elements of Style said I should do it this way!" How can one effectively utilize the guide? Do you just read it, cover to cover? Things like when to begin, and end, a paragraph, how to compose a sentence, etc., come instinctively to me, right or wrong (I bought "Elements", anyway...). To attempt to rely upon such a guide while writing seems to threaten the "flow".
Does anyone actually use this guide while writing? Isn't this a bit tedious?
BTW, I just reread the little short scenario I had written earlier. It doesn't exactly stink, but thank God (no, really, God...thanks!)for rewrite!:D

Dawnstorm
December 2nd, 2006, 09:40 PM
I doubt anyone uses it while writing; it's more useful for editing and, in turn, developing an intution for how you want to write. Trouble is, that might never happen for some. I've seen many S&W-induced edits drain the soul from a text. Instead of explaining style, Strunk replaces awkward sentences with ones he likes, and then claims it's because of the rule he posits. Language, however, is more complex:

For example, in the section "Use the active voice" there's the following example:

There were a great number of dead leaves lying on the ground. --> Dead leaves covered the ground.

The grammar involved is tricky, and the alternatives are endless. In the text, Strunk claims that this is an instance of substituting "a transitive in the active voice" for the "perfunctory expression there is". However, he's actually substituting "covered" for "there is", "lying", and "a great number of".

That's not much of a problem, really. But it does make for a rhetorical trick, to push his own taste.

"There were a great number of dead leaves lying on the ground," is not necessarily awkward, because it lacks a "transitive in the active voice". (A transitive verb is one that takes an object)

I could omit "lying":

There were a great number of dead leaves on the ground.

I could substitute "were" and "lying" for "lay" (an intransitive in the active voice):

There lay a great number of dead leaves on the ground. (Better: On the ground there lay a great number of dead leaves. - See, how you can keep the sentence in the active voice and still end it on the subject?)

I could simply rearrange the sentence:

Lying on the ground there were a great number of dead leaves.

Oh, and why not use the transitive in the passive voice?

The ground was covered in dead leaves. (I wonder whether strunk prefers the passive voice to the "there is" construction. What's the lesser of two evils?)

Quite often, his examples are designed to pursuade rather than enlighten. He's pushing his own agenda; all else is, obviously, bad taste. In the past, when I've criticised The Elements of Style, I've been told that you need to know the basics, before you make your decision. This was offered in defense of the book. Strangely, I agree. But The Elements of Style leaves out most of the basics, and puts those he likes into the light. Strunk doesn't show you the elements of style, he tells you how to write. He makes the decisions that should be yours to make.

If you happen to think like Strunk (i.e. if you want to sound like a bold, American frontiersman) The Elements of Style will be helpful in editing and learning to write, I'm sure. I suggest renaming the book:

Some Elements of Style

Our Favourite Elements of Style

...

Dawnstorm
December 2nd, 2006, 09:41 PM
I doubt anyone uses it while writing; it's more useful for editing and, in turn, developing an intution for how you want to write. Trouble is, that might never happen for some. I've seen many S&W-induced edits drain the soul from a text. Instead of explaining style, Strunk replaces awkward sentences with ones he likes, and then claims it's because of the rule he posits. Language, however, is more complex:

For example, in the section "Use the active voice" there's the following example:

There were a great number of dead leaves lying on the ground. --> Dead leaves covered the ground.

The grammar involved is tricky, and the alternatives are endless. In the text, Strunk claims that this is an instance of substituting "a transitive in the active voice" for the "perfunctory expression there is". However, he's actually substituting "covered" for "there is", "lying", and "a great number of".

That's not much of a problem, really. But it does make for a rhetorical trick, to push his own taste.

"There were a great number of dead leaves lying on the ground," is not necessarily awkward, because it lacks a "transitive in the active voice". (A transitive verb is one that takes an object)

I could omit "lying":

There were a great number of dead leaves on the ground.

I could substitute "were" and "lying" for "lay" (an intransitive in the active voice):

There lay a great number of dead leaves on the ground. (Better: On the ground there lay a great number of dead leaves. - See, how you can keep the sentence in the active voice and still end it on the subject?)

I could simply rearrange the sentence:

Lying on the ground there were a great number of dead leaves.

Oh, and why not use the transitive in the passive voice?

The ground was covered in dead leaves. (I wonder whether strunk prefers the passive voice to the "there is" construction. What's the lesser of two evils?)

Quite often, his examples are designed to pursuade rather than enlighten. He's pushing his own agenda; all else is, obviously, bad taste. In the past, when I've criticised The Elements of Style, I've been told that you need to know the basics, before you make your decision. This was offered in defense of the book. Strangely, I agree. But The Elements of Style leaves out most of the basics, and puts those he likes into the light. Strunk doesn't show you the elements of style, he tells you how to write. He makes the decisions that should be yours to make.

If you happen to think like Strunk (i.e. if you want to sound like a bold, American frontiersman) The Elements of Style will be helpful in editing and learning to write, I'm sure. I suggest renaming the book:

Some Elements of Style

Our Favourite Elements of Style

...