Page 2 of 8 FirstFirst 1234 ... LastLast
Results 16 to 30 of 112
  1. #16
    infomaniac Expendable's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    237 miles straight up
    Posts
    1,803
    I read a strange story once that gave you the ending first, then the middle, then the begining. Of course, the twist was in the begining.

  2. #17
    Where have I been? Moderator JRMurdock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    SD, CA
    Posts
    1,350
    The movie 'Memento' was backwards. The person had short term memory loss and it retraced his steps through the movie. It was filled with twists and turns and was very strange. I recomend that movie.

    I still maintain that a story must contain some basic elements if you wish to sell it. After that, all bets are off. You can tell a story any way you wish, it's what are editors looking to buy. I've deviated from the norm many times. I've not sold one piece that I did that with. Got a lot of rejections to prove it. . All the stories that I've sold (all 8) had the basic elements I mentioned before.

    If you want to write 'outside' the bounds and sell that story, you'll need to read a lot and see who buys stories like that. If you're not looking to sell a story, write however it makes you feel best about the story you're telling.

  3. #18
    Shovelly Joe Moderator Jacquin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Drunk in a gutter somewhere
    Posts
    2,043
    Quote Originally Posted by maus99
    I still maintain that a story must contain some basic elements if you wish to sell it. After that, all bets are off. You can tell a story any way you wish, it's what are editors looking to buy. I've deviated from the norm many times. I've not sold one piece that I did that with. Got a lot of rejections to prove it. . All the stories that I've sold (all 8) had the basic elements I mentioned before.

    If you want to write 'outside' the bounds and sell that story, you'll need to read a lot and see who buys stories like that. If you're not looking to sell a story, write however it makes you feel best about the story you're telling.
    Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner!

    What elements must a story contain? It depends on what you're writing it for. If you're writing to sell, it must have what the buyer wants it to have. If you're writing it for yourself it must have whatever you want it to have.

    J

  4. #19
    Where have I been? Moderator JRMurdock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    SD, CA
    Posts
    1,350
    Huh? Who said that?


  5. #20
    Shovelly Joe Moderator Jacquin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Drunk in a gutter somewhere
    Posts
    2,043
    Quote Originally Posted by maus99
    Huh? Who said that?

    It was me...

  6. #21
    Filthy Assistants! Moderator kater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Farsight Community
    Posts
    6,577
    Blog Entries
    36
    I was holding back from this thread because I know squat all about writing, however from what I read I'm going to say the key component for me is characterisation.

  7. #22
    Speculative Horizons Moderator JamesL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Manchester
    Posts
    1,030
    Quote Originally Posted by kater
    I was holding back from this thread because I know squat all about writing, however from what I read I'm going to say the key component for me is characterisation.
    I agree with this totally. Good characters usually means good book. Simple as.

    Of course, having a wicked plot helps.

  8. #23
    Edited for submission Holbrook's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    In the Shire
    Posts
    4,345
    Blog Entries
    42
    Quote Originally Posted by Jacquin
    Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner!

    What elements must a story contain? It depends on what you're writing it for. If you're writing to sell, it must have what the buyer wants it to have. If you're writing it for yourself it must have whatever you want it to have.

    J
    Are the two so different or are they the same?

    This thread, like a lot these days are over analysing the mechanics. I have been as guilty of this as much as other in the past. But I have stopped doing it, for the simple reason it has stopped me writing. The more I think of "what should be done" the less I create, the less I write. I feel I have a good enough grip on the "machanics" (Though my grammer still is shaky) to now write when and what I want and that is the important thing What I want, not what others, not what the industry wants. The tales in my head nothing more.

    I am trying to get back to the way I used to write. I have been looking at a lot of my old work lately and to be honest, the power of the stories hidden in the bad machanics puts a lot of my recent stuff to shame.

    I still want to be published at some point, but it never has been the glory road for me, it was to prove a point to myself and others. If it happens it happens, but I won't loose sleep over it at all. I want to sit here and write in the manner I used too, without feeling some writing machanic demon is looking over my shoulder. I want to creat my story with a beginning a middle and an end, about the characters I feel belong in that story and to follow them on their adventure with my words.

  9. #24
    Shovelly Joe Moderator Jacquin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Drunk in a gutter somewhere
    Posts
    2,043
    Quote Originally Posted by Holbrook
    Are the two so different or are they the same?
    I think they are very different indeed. A writer wants to write the best story they can. They want the reader to be moved in some way. They want to create art.

    The publisher wants something that it can use to increase its profits. The more simple a story and the more it fits the pattern the public know, the more likely the publisher is to accept it. I suppose it is worth remembering that writers tend to be experienced readers and appreciate good writing, whereas the average Joe Public just wants a laugh/cry/shiver etc...

    Of course the luckiest/best of us write whatever they want and the public love it too, though I'm guessing if you asked them they would deny it is luck and call it hard work and persistance.

    This thread, like a lot these days are over analysing the mechanics. I have been as guilty of this as much as other in the past. But I have stopped doing it, for the simple reason it has stopped me writing. The more I think of "what should be done" the less I create, the less I write. I feel I have a good enough grip on the "machanics" (Though my grammer still is shaky) to now write when and what I want and that is the important thing What I want, not what others, not what the industry wants. The tales in my head nothing more.

    I am trying to get back to the way I used to write. I have been looking at a lot of my old work lately and to be honest, the power of the stories hidden in the bad machanics puts a lot of my recent stuff to shame.

    I still want to be published at some point, but it never has been the glory road for me, it was to prove a point to myself and others. If it happens it happens, but I won't loose sleep over it at all. I want to sit here and write in the manner I used too, without feeling some writing machanic demon is looking over my shoulder. I want to creat my story with a beginning a middle and an end, about the characters I feel belong in that story and to follow them on their adventure with my words.
    I think threads like this are quite fun, they let you see what people think a story should have. Almost like having your own focus group to consult about writing. Advice is just that though, advice. We all follow our own path and who knows where they lead?

    J

  10. #25
    Edited for submission Holbrook's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    In the Shire
    Posts
    4,345
    Blog Entries
    42
    Quote Originally Posted by Jacquin
    I think they are very different indeed. A writer wants to write the best story they can. They want the reader to be moved in some way. They want to create art.

    The publisher wants something that it can use to increase its profits. The more simple a story and the more it fits the pattern the public know, the more likely the publisher is to accept it. I suppose it is worth remembering that writers tend to be experienced readers and appreciate good writing, whereas the average Joe Public just wants a laugh/cry/shiver etc...

    Of course the luckiest/best of us write whatever they want and the public love it too, though I'm guessing if you asked them they would deny it is luck and call it hard work and persistance.
    Depends on the publisher, depends on the editor, depends on a lot of things. Fashion, novelty value, being considered literature, or just plain old storytelling. A lot of books get published that are not simple, that throw the pattern away. If writers, by working to a pattern, could insure they get published, then most here would be able to get something out there.

    Can you say with the few bits you have had published that they fit a pattern, if so do you want to squeeze into that pattern day after day and write according to the law. I for one don't want too and to be honest if I did have to do that to get published , then I would rather stay a hobby writer. I don't need or want this ever to become a job, jobs become boring, they take on a must do, rather than a want to do, no matter how much you love the job to begin with.

    Yes you can write to a formula, write for "your readers" hell, folks do that on role play and collab forums all over the net. But in the end what gets the boost,save your ego. Do you get pushed to do better, to take a risk to write something different, to explore with words your own thoughts? Rarely, if you are lucky in your co-writers. Many want to stick to the pattern and are frightened of going away from it?

    To make the effort to reach out to catch this butterfly, this idea, this whys of life. I want so much for the words I write to touch, to be, yet is it possible I delude myself in this manner. I swing from being so sure, so positive I am succeeding, to being equally sure I am fooling myself and others with nonsense.

    If I was published would that answer, no, I think not. Not now, it would have done twelve months ago, or even six. Or at least I would have thought it would have then. Now it would prove that I had produced something that could be sold for a profit in some ones eyes.

    You see during the past few months I have drifted back to the real reason I began writing, mainly for me. To fill a need I have to put down the stories in my head, to express through them the things I find difficult in doing in other ways. I suppose it is closing the circle in a way.


    I think threads like this are quite fun, they let you see what people think a story should have. Almost like having your own focus group to consult about writing. Advice is just that though, advice. We all follow our own path and who knows where they lead?

    J
    Yes they are fun, but when do the focus groups become the ball and chain? When the ideas fog everything up and you find it hard to see what you need too. Yes advice is just that, advice, yet folks tend to forget, we are all guilty of that, forget that our way is not the right way. How much damage have we, can we do?
    Last edited by Holbrook; January 21st, 2005 at 04:27 AM.

  11. #26
    Shovelly Joe Moderator Jacquin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Drunk in a gutter somewhere
    Posts
    2,043
    Quote Originally Posted by Holbrook
    Depends on the publisher, depends on the editor, depends on a lot of things. Fashion, novelty value, being considered literature, or just plain old storytelling. A lot of books get published that are not simple, that throw the pattern away. If writers, by working to a pattern, could insure they get published, then most here would be able to get something out there.
    I'm not sure I entirely agree. I think the thing that changes is the target audience of the publisher. They always want something that fits the pattern that they know sells. Every now and again you find a publisher that seems to be willing to take a risk on something different, but what are the chances that they will take a risk on us? Not high I'd guess and whilst there are always exceptions to every rule, if we want to be published we are better off following the rule, at least to begin with.

    Can you say with the few bits you have had published that they fit a pattern, if so do you want to squeeze into that pattern day after day and write according to the law. I for one don't want too and to be honest if I did have to do that to get published , then I would rather stay a hobby writer. I don't need or want this ever to become a job, jobs become boring, they take on a must do, rather than a want to do, no matter how much you love the job to begin with.
    I've had a huge ammount of jobs, some I enjoyed, some I hated with an overwhelming passion. At the end of the day unless you are of independent means you have to do somehting to earn money. I would happily write for money and if that means writing what people will pay for then so be it. I would happily have forumites all over the internet deride my books as pulp, formulaic trash, worse than Jordan/Goodkind and Eddings all in one, if I was getting a decent living from writing them. Don't get me wrong I would love to be successful and well regarded. A veritable literary giant. But whilst I want to be the best, I will settle for simply better than before.

    Yes you can write to a formula, write for "your readers" hell, folks do that on role play and collab forums all over the net. But in the end what gets the boost,save your ego. Do you get pushed to do better, to take a risk to write something different, to explore with words your own thoughts Rarely, if you are lucky in your co-writers. Many want to stick to the pattern and are firghtened of going away from it?
    I don't write so people will complement me. I write because I want to. The complements I seek are in the form of publishers acceptance letters. I suppose the difference is in what we want as an end result. I want to be a professional author, you seem to want to write the best book you can. I'm sure that in 200 years no-one will know a damn thing about me and your work will be still doing the rounds, but I want it NOW.

    To make the effort to reach out to catch this butterfly, this idea, this whys of life. I want so much for the words I write to touch, to be, yet is it possible I delude myself in this manner. I swing from being so sure, so positive I am succeeding, to being equally sure I am fooling myself and others with nonsense.
    I think we all share simliar feelings, I think I have written one thing that I condsider a good piece, I showed it to someone and as they came to the end they laughed out loud. In that, I succeeded. Unsurprisingly it is the short just accepted by ASIM.

    If I was published would that answer, no, I think not. Not now, it would have done twelve months ago, or even six. Or at least I would have thought it would have then. Now it would prove that I had produced something that could be sold for a profit in some ones eyes.

    You see during the past few months I have drifted back to the real reason I began writing, mainly for me. To fill a need I have to put down the stories in my head, to express through them the things I find difficult in doing in other ways. I suppose it is closing the circle in a way.
    That is I think why we all write, if you don't have a need to do this you simply will not do it. I remember as a kid listening to an author do a talk at school (I wish I could remember her name) and being in awe. It never really twigged that people actually wrote books. Once I'd realised that I had no choice. I however do want to be published. In my mind a book isn't a book until it is published.

    Yes they are fun, but when do the focus groups become the ball and chain? When they ideas fog everything up and you find it hard to see what you need too. Yes advice is just that, advice, yet folks tend to forget, we are all guilty of that, forget that our way is not the right way. How much damage have we, can we do?
    Who said it was a ball and chain? I personally find threads like this one helpful because they help me get things clearer in my mind. The framework I posted is exactly what I use to help draft the story. It isn't about ideas, it is about tools we can use to help craft our ideas, and as a Smith I'm fully aware that it is impossible to have too many tools.

  12. #27
    Edited for submission Holbrook's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    In the Shire
    Posts
    4,345
    Blog Entries
    42
    Quote Originally Posted by Jacquin
    If we want to be published we are better off following the rule, at least to begin with.
    I have tried following the rules for over three/four years and to be honest it got me nowhere, a folder full of rejections and a growing hatred of a thing I loved. It was when I realised that I went back to the beginning. Strange thing is, the one work of mine that really came from my heart, written at a time when I was ignorant in the main of the so called rules, has gained more interest in publishing circles than anything else. Go figure?


    I want to be a professional author, you seem to want to write the best book you can. I'm sure that in 200 years no-one will know a damn thing about me and your work will be still doing the rounds, but I want it NOW.
    That's the crunch, people have always got the idea I have wanted to be the "professional". I never have, I wanted to write stories. I wanted to write one story so much it took over my life. I only know one way of doing anything, that's the best I can. It might not be right; it might not be yours or anyone else’s idea of best. But it is mine, not much point trying to do anything if you don't try to give your best. I don't want anything bad enough to say I want it "NOW" I have what I want around me now and all the immortality I need in seeing my children build on the base I did my best to create for them. Being ill the last few years put a lot of the crap of this life where it belonged in the bin.

    It isn't about ideas, it is about tools we can use to help craft our ideas, and as a Smith I'm fully aware that it is impossible to have too many tools.
    Tools can be limiting. Too many tools can be down right confusing and honestly tools help, but they don't create. Simple tools in the hands of some one with imagination, desire and drive do a lot more than a man with the latest gizmos. Tools can get in the way of your ideas and words. Yes I have learned to handle POV, tense etc...etc... But thinking on the tools too much stops the creative flow. A story can be "perfectly crafted" but be as boring as hell and about nothing. Technical manuals are "crafted" a story is created. That is something people seem to forget at times on these threads.

    A story should have a beginning, middle and end, what those are is subject to the interpretation of the writer’s words by the reader. And in that you are never going to get the same answer.

  13. #28
    Shovelly Joe Moderator Jacquin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Drunk in a gutter somewhere
    Posts
    2,043
    Quote Originally Posted by Holbrook
    I have tried following the rules for over three/four years and to be honest it got me nowhere, a folder full of rejections and a growing hatred of a thing I loved. It was when I realised that I went back to the beginning. Strange thing is, the one work of mine that really came from my heart, written at a time when I was ignorant in the main of the so called rules, has gained more interest in publishing circles than anything else. Go figure?
    To quote Matt Stover "If you're following all the rules and still losing then you're playing the wrong game," Ok, I paraphrased and it was actually Yoda in Shatterpoint but the idea is the same. The original point I was trying to make in my usual unclear way was that Maus set out to get a ceratin number of short stories published over the last year. If I remember rightly he didn't quite meet his target, but he did do a damn site better than most of us. His words are to me the most helpful. He is saying "this is what I learned to do to get published," I intend to try and take that on board. It doesn't make me a better or a worse writer, it doesn't give me any ideas. It simply means that if he is right (I hope he is) I have hopefully learned a lesson in an easier and less heart-rending way than I usually do.

    The other thing that is worth mentioning is that he was talking about short stories and you are talking about a novel. I am certainly no expert but I think they are worlds apart. My goal is to build up some publishing credits for short stories whilst I work on a novel. That way if I ever get to finishing it I will have a vaguely respectable CV to show a potential publisher or agent. It may help, it may not. It is simply what I intend to do. I have learned a lot from you. I firmly believe you deserve publishing but yet you still are rejected. Imho entering the game with a novel is a very hard way to do it and I like to make things easier for myself if I can...

    That's the crunch, people have always got the idea I have wanted to be the "professional". I never have, I wanted to write stories. I wanted to write one story so much it took over my life. I only know one way of doing anything, that's the best I can. It might not be right; it might not be yours or anyone else’s idea of best. But it is mine, not much point trying to do anything if you don't try to give your best. I don't want anything bad enough to say I want it "NOW" I have what I want around me now and all the immortality I need in seeing my children build on the base I did my best to create for them. Being ill the last few years put a lot of the crap of this life where it belonged in the bin.
    I never said I thought you wanted to be a professional, at least I didn't mean to. If I did I apologise. What I meant to say was that I want to be a professional. Though I have to ask, if you don't want to be a pro-author, why have you submitted so may times?

    Tools can be limiting. Too many tools can be down right confusing and honestly tools help, but they don't create. Simple tools in the hands of some one with imagination, desire and drive do a lot more than a man with the latest gizmos. Tools can get in the way of your ideas and words. Yes I have learned to handle POV, tense etc...etc... But thinking on the tools too much stops the creative flow. A story can be "perfectly crafted" but be as boring as hell and about nothing. Technical manuals are "crafted" a story is created. That is something people seem to forget at times on these threads.
    On this we're gonna have to agree to disagree. There is an approriate tool for every job, you simply have to understand when to use them and when not to. It doesn't take away from the fact that it is possible to create a piece of junk perfectly with the correct tools but this thread isn't about what makes a story great, or how top have wonderful ideas. It is about the basics that make up a story. I very much enjoy looking at other peoples tools and getting ideas for how to improve my own.

    A story should have a beginning, middle and end, what those are is subject to the interpretation of the writer’s words by the reader. And in that you are never going to get the same answer.
    Which is what makes submitting an uncertain process. For me the idea of this thread is not about accepting the inevitability of rejection, it is about shortening the odds of acceptance. If I say a story should be "A" and someone who has had a lot more work published than me says it should be "B" then I'd be stupid not to listen.

  14. #29
    Edited for submission Holbrook's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    In the Shire
    Posts
    4,345
    Blog Entries
    42
    Quote Originally Posted by Jacquin
    I never said I thought you wanted to be a professional, at least I didn't mean to. If I did I apologise. What I meant to say was that I want to be a professional. Though I have to ask, if you don't want to be a pro-author, why have you submitted so may times?
    Because I got stuck on the idea that to prove I had done my best I had to be published. I am not sure that is right any more. And I only submitted four thing last year, two novels and two short stories. One novel failed, one short story failed, the other two are out there, if they fail then I am going to be thinking hard about if and when and with what I submit again. That's not to say I am not going to continue writing, but I am going to be writing what I feel I need to write, not what I think I should write. Very different things.

    Finishing Llafn Meistr, telling the story in the words I wanted to use, taking it as far as I could and getting it under the nose of an agent seems to have taken all the desire to "be published" away. If the book flies it flies if not then ok...The six years are over, done, dusted. I need to move on, both with writing what I feel I need too and going in other directions.

    My POD adventure taught me a lot of things, one of those was that often the goal is not what you thought it was, it is what you learn on the way.


    On this we're gonna have to agree to disagree. There is an approriate tool for every job, you simply have to understand when to use them and when not to. It doesn't take away from the fact that it is possible to create a piece of junk perfectly with the correct tools but this thread isn't about what makes a story great, or how top have wonderful ideas. It is about the basics that make up a story. I very much enjoy looking at other peoples tools and getting ideas for how to improve my own.
    Arrrrr A man's obessions with tools! No... often if you use the tool not meant for the job, you can often get a better job done or if the gods smile create something so very different. I don't need fancy drawing pencils to draw a line drawing, a cheap one from Woolworths does the job just the same, it might not be the correct or approriate tool, but does that make the finished article any less if it is what I wanted and needed to create.

    Over analysing, too much comparing, leaves little time for creating. The more you think on the tools the less you get done. Least I have found it so and found myself dithering about putting down a word or sentence because it did not fit the rules, that this paragraph, chapter, POV etc did not walk the straight and narrow of some rules. It killed my writing dead.


    If I say a story should be "A" and someone who has had a lot more work published than me says it should be "B" then I'd be stupid not to listen.
    You seem to be saying I don't listen. I do. Then I look at what doing B has created in their work and ask, do I want my work to go the same way? I might like parts of it, might feel that that works for them achieve the goal they want too, with their story, but could it work for mine or would it destory it, that very part that makes it mine and turns it into that paperback in the airport... do I really want that I suppose is what I am thinking? Do I want to push words the same way as I crunch numbers for a living? Doing a good, aceptable job, but not pushing it that little bit further. That's the key word "job". It breaks things that are creative by nature into the mechanics of a job or a construction takes the power of the imagination out of them, makes them flat and lifless.

  15. #30
    Shovelly Joe Moderator Jacquin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Drunk in a gutter somewhere
    Posts
    2,043
    Quote Originally Posted by Holbrook
    My POD adventure taught me a lot of things, one of those was that often the goal is not what you thought it was, it is what you learn on the way.
    Absolutely, life is about changing and growing. Often we learn things we didn't expect to and new avenues open

    Arrrrr A man's obessions with tools! No... often if you use the tool not meant for the job, you can often get a better job done or if the gods smile create something so very different. I don't need fancy drawing pencils to draw a line drawing, a cheap one from Woolworths does the job just the same, it might not be the correct or approriate tool, but does that make the finished article any less if it is what I wanted and needed to create.
    I can see your point, but I am still going to carry on collecting hammers... The more tools I have the more things I can do. It works that way for me.

    Over analysing, too much comparing, leaves little time for creating. The more you think on the tools the less you get done. Least I have found it so and found myself dithering about putting down a word or sentence because it did not fit the rules, that this paragraph, chapter, POV etc did not walk the straight and narrow of some rules. It killed my writing dead.
    BUt we're not talking about grammar, POV, tense etc, we're talking about the elements that make up a story. Everyone has their own opinion, but if we are writing to sell (and some of us are) and we are offered a framework or set of guidelines to make that process easier shouldn't we take it?

    You seem to be saying I don't listen. I do. Then I look at what doing B has created in their work and ask, do I want my work to go the same way? I might like parts of it, might feel that that works for them achieve the goal they want too, with their story, but could it work for mine or would it destory it, that very part that makes it mine and turns it into that paperback in the airport... do I really want that I suppose is what I am thinking? Do I want to push words the same way as I crunch numbers for a living? Doing a good, aceptable job, but not pushing it that little bit further. That's the key word "job". It breaks things that are creative by nature into the mechanics of a job or a construction takes the power of the imagination out of them, makes them flat and lifless.
    I didn't mean to aim that at you, sorry if it read that way. At the end of the day it is different for us all. I would rather get paid to write in a way that is acceptible to publishers than spend my days earning other people money and write whatever I feel like in my spare time.

    I guess what this boils down to is that I don't feel that writing to a formula that will hopefully sell is in any way compromising my principles as a writer. Excluding sheer luck, I see that as the difference between an author and a writer. A writer writes, an author gets paid. I'd rather be an author any day...

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •