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Evil Agent
February 24th, 2004, 07:57 PM
Sorry folks, I'm known to be EXTREMELY cynical at times..

But I guess I'm just looking for some positive words of encouragement.

I'm an avid reader, have been all my life, and I'm pretty good at writing as well (at least I was pretty good at University essays). I've dabbled in fiction as well, my whole life, and I've always been obsessed with the idea of one day writing a whole novel.

Only recently, the last year or so, I've been thinking more and more about trying to write. I've written a few short (SHORT) stories, a comical-funny parody of a Fantasy epic, but when it comes to actually trying to write something SERIOUS, I get so discouraged. I think it's because only recently have I really faced the truth about how difficult writing fiction actually is. Research, research, research. That's probably my main problem. But then I also start to get discouraged because I am always SO critical of anything I produce (music, writing, whatever), and I think "could that sentence be better? Could that paragraph be better? Couldn't that whole SCENE be better?" and then I end up psyching myself out, and find myself face to face with nasty WRITER'S BLOCK!!!! ARGH! And then there's the fact that I always want to "start big", with some sweeping epic novel, which I know is not where a beginner writer should start!!!

What I'm wondering is, how much hope do you really think there is of being published/successful/whatever, in the world of fantasy or fiction writing? There are so many authors out there, and so much is cliche. And what is the best way to start? Just writing as much stuff as I can, regardless of what it is?

Sorry, I guess I'm rambling. But anyway, I AM working on a story that I'm quite excited about at the moment, I'm thinking it could conceivably end up being something like 50 pages. I'm still trying to hammer out the plot though, cause usually I just want to write but then I have no direction...

Okay I'm stopping now before this gets any longer!

February 24th, 2004, 10:21 PM
Always look to hope, agent for it never abandons a true keeper, and remember that if you achieve in a story what felt right to you then it's a perfect creation. You can never please everyone so please yourself. Don't sacrifice your artistic expressions for an industry based upon capitolism.

February 24th, 2004, 10:33 PM
I read somewhere recently that in order to be a successful writer, it's not enough to want to have written - you need to want to write. Enjoy the process.

A lot of people have heard of the romantic version of the writer's career - overnight you get a call and someone want to give you a million dollar advance. You set your own hours, make a living imagining stuff. You tour the world (at your publisher's expense) and sign autographs - almost like a movie star. The thing is, if that's all you want, then I suppose it is pretty hopeless.

The truth is that most professional writers have to support themselves by some other means.

So where to start? I don't think there is any formula out there. (However if anyone knows of one, please let me in on it too.) You could try entering some writing competitions - base your work on their submission guidelines.
Write the stories that you really want to tell (not just something that you think might sell).
If research is bogging you down - start with what you already know. Research can always be done later (although it may often lead to more writing than doing it first.)
Make writing part of your routine. If it's a priority for you, then set aside some time every day for it.
One trick a lot of writers use is to just start writing. Before you do anything else - write for ten minutes in your designated black of time. It doesn't matter what. It's just an exercise to get you in the right frame of mind. Once you're warmed up you can get into whatever project you have on hand.

Anyway, I hope this helps. There's a lot of us out here who cling to the dream that one day we will be published, and while it may just be a dream for many of us, at least you're in good company!


Evil Agent
February 24th, 2004, 10:57 PM
Thanks guys, it means a lot!

For the record, I DO want to write, not just to have written... I always think that one of the most rewarding feelings ever (although probably also frustrating at times) would just be to have this wonderful story that I can just write, every day, and get lost in the creation of it. I just feel like it could be so great, even better than reading fantasy in a way. Making your own!

In terms of music and other stuff, I've always stuck to the idea of doing what I want and love, not what "sells" so I think I'll be okay there.

I guess I should just start writing more, and as you said make it a part of my routine (although I find I have so little time between work and sleep and girlfriend). Other things I'd love to fit into my routine but I don't find enough time for are cooking, meditating, excercising, etc. etc. etc. I guess it all comes down to time, discipline, motivation...

Lucky Joe
February 25th, 2004, 03:11 AM
Hey Evil Agent,

Definitely keep writing, every day if possible.

Just a thought, you mentioned that you've written comedy, and it occurred to me when reading your post that it's when you attempt to write serious stuff that you run into trouble, have you perhaps thought about sticking to that style of writing. We all know Tom Holt and Terry Prachett are managing to make a living at it, and hopefully you'll enjoy the process/of course that's not to say you won't enjoy writing serious stuff either. :D

February 25th, 2004, 04:58 AM
Keep writing is top priority. Remember whatever you write, you can edit, so write it all down and sift the good stuff out later.

Competitions and critique are all good for honing and boning up your skills etc.

A far as direction I think the majority of writers are aiming at the same thing i.e. publication and recognition of their work. (not to mention a big pot of cash if possible ;) )

Some people say the creation of the story is the hardest. Some say the editing, but personally I think the submission is the toughest part as it's the part you have the least control over and are at the mercy of whichever bod's desk the product of your blood, sweat and tears lands on.
It's easy enough to bombard every agent/publisher with your synopsis and sample, but the waiting game that comes afterwards will make you think "Why the Hell am I doing this?"

Keep at it and never let anyone tell you that "Evil never wins"

Evil Agent
February 25th, 2004, 04:35 PM
LOL, thanks! :)

So far, at least with this story I'm working on now (and with others, in fact) I find that tying together a solid plot is the hardest part. I can write, so that's not the problem. Once I know the scene, I can write it pretty easily. It's coming up with a coherent plot that's not full of holes that gets me. I really have more and more respect for master plotters like Martin, Erikson, Jordan, and all the others who weave these insane plots. This is just a short fantasy story, but already the world is trying to almost build itself, and it's threatening to spiral out of control!!!

February 25th, 2004, 06:44 PM
In terms of my writing journey I am in a very similar place to you, EA. I've wanted to write a novel since I was a kid, but all I have to my writing credit are a handful of short stories and a plethora of university essays, as well as a few notebooks of awful poetry that I've since thrown out.

But I've always believed, deep down, that I had the ability to write a decent novel, if only I tried. So I finally got around to starting one back before Christmas, and I must say I'm enjoying the process immensely, as difficult and lengthy as it is. I wish I would have put my butt in the chair and tried this earlier, because I'm having a lot of fun and I feel that it's "my type" of writing.

Do I have any hope that I could actually be published? Yes, and I admit if I believed that there was ZERO chance I could be published I might not put all this effort into my book. But if I finish it and nobody ever reads it but me and husband/proofreader, I'll still feel satisfied for having finished it.

Nevertheless, there is always hope. You saying that you're "excited" about your story is a good sign, because a writer who's work doesn't excite him/her is unlikely to finish anything or put their whole heart and soul into a piece.

I too am excited about my story...but like you I find myself stumbling into many huge plot holes and lapses in logic. Writing a novel is hard work, no doubt. There are so many little details to iron out so the thing at least makes sense. Like you sometimes I feel my fantasy world is spinning out of control--characterization is no problem for me, writing scenes or dialogue is no problem--it's tying together all my scenes that starts getting tough.

I don't think I'm qualified to tell you where you should start if you want to get published but I can tell you what I'm doing--just writing! Write anything, whatever turns your crank, and keep working on it. That I think is the key--hard work. Being a writer is no cake walk! You have to spend a lot of time working out the plot, editing, rewriting, all that stuff. Even when it starts to get boring you have to stick at it. I find it's really important to do something on my story every day, even if it's just edit a chapter I already wrote, because if I leave it for more than a couple days the characters start to get stale in my mind.

I have no idea if I've even coming close to answering your question yet but this post is spiraling out of control so I'll leave it at that. :)

Keep writing and good luck!

:) :)

February 25th, 2004, 11:10 PM
There's always hope. Suck it up, put in the hard yards and have some fun whle you're at it.

February 26th, 2004, 05:35 AM
Don't give up and DON't EVER try to judge your own work. At least don't do all by your self, have a friend or family member look it over as well and see what they have to say about it. Or post a bit of it here and see what we think. You will find that many many people here are willing to help you.

And there is hope that you will get your work published one day. It took me years to find someone will to publish my book. Most publishers are a tad shy about 'new authors', but if you keep at it you can do it.