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H.Protagonist
XSEED
(12-01-2014, 04:04 AM)
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Originally Posted by AngmarsKing701

The first draft of Ahvarra was 189,000 words. That's the power of editing and beta readers, that the final published edition is roughly 124,000.

189,000... -_-;

Even with the bonus material, Dead Endings isn't quite to 70,000. I mean, that was a boon for my pub's initial format, and it was my NaNoWriMo, but... haha. For my next book I'll probably shoot for something significantly larger, but I'm really impressed everyone's gone so big for their first ones. Sounds like you got a lot out of your beta readers/editing. Did you hire professional beta readers or were they friends...?
AngmarsKing701
Member
(12-01-2014, 04:16 AM)
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Originally Posted by H.Protagonist

189,000... -_-;

Even with the bonus material, Dead Endings isn't quite to 70,000. I mean, that was a boon for my pub's initial format, and it was my NaNoWriMo, but... haha. For my next book I'll probably shoot for something significantly larger, but I'm really impressed everyone's gone so big for their first ones. Sounds like you got a lot out of your beta readers/editing. Did you hire professional beta readers or were they friends...?

Started out with a large writing group but four of us had finished drafts and we wanted to speed things up, so we split from the main group and blasted through our stuff.

Edit - book 2 is first person and I expect it to be shorter, maybe 75-90k when all's said and done.
Elfforkusu
Member
(12-01-2014, 04:20 AM)
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Amber Opposition was over 200k.

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck doing that again. I didn't have a clue. I'm writing in installments now!
cosmicblizzard
Banned
(12-01-2014, 04:20 AM)
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Just said screw it and got my old editor on my second book. A bit pricier than I would have liked, though it makes sense considering the length. At least I won't have to worry about my friend finishing it now, especially seeing as I'll probably have my third book done by early February.

On the subject of word count, looks like the first thing I ever wrote was nearly 62,000. Of course it was awful, though I'd like to think it isn't the worst first story ever written. Too bad it's pretty much unsalvageable, especially since I wrote 3 more things in the same series, which is another 300k words right there.
Mike M
Nick N
(12-01-2014, 05:09 AM)
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Originally Posted by H.Protagonist

Congrats! That's a huge (134,509?!) accomplishment. I'm always happy to have more fantasy out in the world. :)

On the agent-side, I don't know about all the authors here, but I think whatevermort is the only one with a major publisher and therefore perhaps the only one with an agent/agent experience. Several have sent their stuff to publishing agencies, though, I believe. Mike M? Ashes?

Me? Nah. I'm just submitting shorts to markets at this point. I've only written two books, and only one of them that I think would probably be worth saving. I suppose I could compile some short stories and start shopping *that* around for an agent, but as far as I'm aware a short story author with no novels being represented by an agent would be kind of unusual.

Though I'm kind of hoping I can whip my NaNo novel this year into shape to start sending queries.

Originally Posted by H.Protagonist

Did you hire professional beta readers

Wait, is this a thing? My writing group is always telling me I should be an editor (we actually have a professional editor who tells me I'm good at it too), but I don't have any previous experience/education on the matter, so it's not as though I could make a career leap to it without taking a huge hit to my income (not that I make terribly much to begin with).

But professional beta reader? I can do that shit.

And on a related tangent to both subjects, anyone who would like to volunteer to be a beta reader for Einhorn the Witch Hunter, feel free to hit me up with a PM for a link to the PDF file : )
Delio
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(12-01-2014, 05:11 AM)
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I really hope this year is the year I make my Nano novel into something. Ive been sitting on this story for like three years so I better do something with it.
Mike M
Nick N
(12-01-2014, 05:14 AM)
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Last year's NaNo novel was a story I had been working on in my head for at least a decade, I can remember the first inklings I had about it back when I was still in/just out of college.

It turned out crap.

This year's NaNo novel was based on a short story that I wrote sometime in April or May and decided to expand dramatically upon it. Worked out all the story beats in a weekend.

Turned out way better.

(Though to be fair, the amount of work I did in prewriting for each book is an ocean apart. That first year really showed me how *not* to do things.)
Delio
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(12-01-2014, 05:16 AM)
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Originally Posted by Mike M

Last year's NaNo novel was a story I had been working on in my head for at least a decade, I can remember the first inklings I had about it back when I was still in/just out of college.

It turned out crap.

This year's NaNo novel was based on a short story that I wrote sometime in April or May and decided to expand dramatically upon it. Worked out all the story beats in a weekend.

Turned out way better.

(Though to be fair, the amount of work I did in prewriting for each book is an ocean apart. That first year really showed me how *not* to do things.)

Well I do have like two different things I'm working on. If this story idea doesnt lead into anything then that's how it is eh? I DO want to push more work out next year.
H.Protagonist
XSEED
(12-01-2014, 06:16 AM)
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Originally Posted by AngmarsKing701

Started out with a large writing group but four of us had finished drafts and we wanted to speed things up, so we split from the main group and blasted through our stuff.

Edit - book 2 is first person and I expect it to be shorter, maybe 75-90k when all's said and done.

Nice. I have heard that a lot of people use writing groups for this. My only reader is usually my long-suffering sister. :D I've never tried one, but maybe for the next book.

75-95k sounds like a nice range to me. Long enough to expand further on things, but still tight.


Originally Posted by Mike M

Me? Nah. I'm just submitting shorts to markets at this point. I've only written two books, and only one of them that I think would probably be worth saving. I suppose I could compile some short stories and start shopping *that* around for an agent, but as far as I'm aware a short story author with no novels being represented by an agent would be kind of unusual.

Though I'm kind of hoping I can whip my NaNo novel this year into shape to start sending queries.


Wait, is this a thing? My writing group is always telling me I should be an editor (we actually have a professional editor who tells me I'm good at it too), but I don't have any previous experience/education on the matter, so it's not as though I could make a career leap to it without taking a huge hit to my income (not that I make terribly much to begin with).

But professional beta reader? I can do that shit.

And on a related tangent to both subjects, anyone who would like to volunteer to be a beta reader for Einhorn the Witch Hunter, feel free to hit me up with a PM for a link to the PDF file : )

Ah, okay. I thought you'd been submitting to big publishers. As for beta readers, yup, it's a thing. Most people have friends or writing groups that they use for feedback, but professional beta readers offer more effective (and harsh) criticisms/feedback than friends are apt to many times. You can generally get this stuff from your editor as well, so beta readers are kind of specialized, but I think they're valuable because their opinions are more from the perspective of your audience than a clinical editing run.

Anyway, if you have editing skills as well, that would be handy for such a side gig. Perhaps Angmars could list you under resources on the first page? I'm not sure what you'd charge for such a thing, but a 'barter' beta system wouldn't be out of place (feedback for your own works, marketing exchange, etc.) on GAF, at any rate.
Jintor
Lit himself on fire to get
a mod to tag him
(12-01-2014, 06:31 AM)
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Anyway, now that Nano's over, I have a terrible feeling I'm going to get bogged down for months again just writing backstory

I mean... I love backstory

but you can't sell it to anyone

(until you make a franchise and then you call it the Riven Codex or something idk)
Conkersbadfurday
Member
(12-01-2014, 11:07 PM)
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Originally Posted by H.Protagonist

Congrats! That's a huge (134,509?!) accomplishment. I'm always happy to have more fantasy out in the world. :)

On the agent-side, I don't know about all the authors here, but I think whatevermort is the only one with a major publisher and therefore perhaps the only one with an agent/agent experience. Several have sent their stuff to publishing agencies, though, I believe. Mike M? Ashes?

I think I got a contact with an agency. She interned. Can't remember if I posted that or not.

Half hte people I've told said I should just self publish, which kinda bothers me. I mean, I wrote the thing, I might as well go for broke.

Cynical enough to think that a year and a half from now, it'll be five dollars on Amazon :P
Mike M
Nick N
(12-01-2014, 11:17 PM)
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I see no downside to pursuing traditional publishing. If you make it, great. Better than great, fucking fantastic. You essentially won the lottery. If you don't, there's self publishing, so at least your stuff is out there, but you're in an endless sea of people all doing the exact same thing.

Traditional publishing is not a golden ticket to fame and fortune, but it's a big leg up over self publishing and is absolutely worth pursuing in most cases (setting aside stuff like churning out erotica for the Kindle lending program thing detailed a few pages back. That's really pretty cunning.)
jtb
the walrus
(12-01-2014, 11:24 PM)
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anyone applying to MFAs this fall? would love to go if I can get into fully funded program, but the acceptance rates are... intimidating. stressing endlessly over writing sample.
pulsemyne
Member
(12-01-2014, 11:58 PM)
Oh this is interesting!
Anyway I self published a book about 2 years ago and have worked on the sequel since and it's nearly ready to go. First book was 180,000 words. The second is about 280,000 (yes I can write up a storm). My typical amount to write per day was somewhere around 1000 to 1500 words (I tended to always hit about 1200 maybe more maybe a less).
The two books are both sci fi/ humour (quite dark). The revolve around a single man and his missions for Earths central government (a sort of all powerful morally superior establishment who sees everyone else in local space as morally unclean/not up to their standards). The problem is Central has all the morals standards of a depraved sex addict asked to an over 60's swingers party. Our hero (well not quite a hero) has realised this many decades ago and went into retirement only to be pulled out of it by the lure of a mission that needs urgent attention. If he doesn't go then a group of low minded psychopathic killing machines will get their hands on an awful lot of nuclear weapons (They use primitive bombs to decimate worlds because the bombs are nasty and filthy and to make sure everyone knows they did it). Our hero swings into action and then an awful lot of very nasty things start to happen resulting in several hundred million dead, along with our Hero (not once but quite a few times). Along this wonderful tale of death and destruction he will have to cope with meeting people he despises, being burnt, being shot at, being sliced apart, being taken over by an alien AI and whole series of even more unpleasantness. Suffice to say he is not a happy man at the end of it, and his mood only worsens when he discovers the truth behind everything that has happened...
The second book takes place in the past the present and the future with the past piece leading to the beginning of the future piece which leads to the beginning of the past piece which ends up arriving at the present piece. Sounds complex but it all makes sense. It all involves a vicar, Robin hood, some disgusting green blobs who have a ship the size of a solar system and our Hero being forced to live a life of utter mediocrity again and again and again.
It all leads to a third book which I have an idea for.
Conkersbadfurday
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(12-02-2014, 02:29 AM)
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Originally Posted by Mike M

I see no downside to pursuing traditional publishing. If you make it, great. Better than great, fucking fantastic. You essentially won the lottery. If you don't, there's self publishing, so at least your stuff is out there, but you're in an endless sea of people all doing the exact same thing.

Traditional publishing is not a golden ticket to fame and fortune, but it's a big leg up over self publishing and is absolutely worth pursuing in most cases (setting aside stuff like churning out erotica for the Kindle lending program thing detailed a few pages back. That's really pretty cunning.)

Moar like pretty cunting :3

But yeah. That's the plan. I think what I've written is good, but I dunno if it'll sell well. I mean, it's not about publishing good, i'ts about publishing stuff that will sell.
Mike M
Nick N
(12-03-2014, 05:25 AM)
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Now that NaNo is over, I can finally get back to rebuilding my website as a platform!

...

Man, I don't want to do this shit...
P44
Member
(12-12-2014, 05:28 AM)
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Hey I'm trying to sort of branch out in genre's and stuff in terms of my writing, moving away from fantasy and world building to more modern stories, character driven stuff.

Could you guys um, critique this little chunk and sort of set me on the right path in terms of what I need to change about it? I'm not happy with it at all, really.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...it?usp=sharing

Cheers
Daft Fear
Junior Member
(12-12-2014, 03:21 PM)
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Originally Posted by P44

Hey I'm trying to sort of branch out in genre's and stuff in terms of my writing, moving away from fantasy and world building to more modern stories, character driven stuff.

Could you guys um, critique this little chunk and sort of set me on the right path in terms of what I need to change about it? I'm not happy with it at all, really.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...it?usp=sharing

Cheers

I do critique work with my writing groups, and have some editing background (classes and interned at a major publisher). I'd be happy to offer some feedback (as I'm sure others would too), but I find it best to check, first, what exactly you're looking for. Do you want overall thoughts? Character critique? Setting? Copyedits? I just don't want to poke my nose where it doesn't belong. :)

Also would you prefer PM?
Ashes
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(12-12-2014, 03:23 PM)
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If you're not happy with the work, I'd start by suggesting that you work on it till you are at least somewhat satisfied.
Mike M
Nick N
(12-12-2014, 03:33 PM)
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Originally Posted by Ashes

If you're not happy with the work, I'd start by suggesting that you work on it till you are at least somewhat satisfied.

P44
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(12-12-2014, 05:46 PM)
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Originally Posted by Mike M

This more or less sums it up for me. I've been told other stuff I've done is "good". But that's by people I know, and I need to know. I just want to be a writer and a good one.
Freeza Under The Shower
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(12-12-2014, 08:11 PM)
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Speaking of critique groups, what would be the best place to go for starters in sf / fantasy?
AngmarsKing701
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(12-13-2014, 12:09 AM)
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Originally Posted by Zeitgeister

Speaking of critique groups, what would be the best place to go for starters in sf / fantasy?

Do a Google search on writing groups in your town/area. That's how I found the one I worked with on Ahvarra.
BeesEight
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(12-13-2014, 12:17 AM)
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I didn't want to post in this thread until I had some significant news to share or something.

However, I just got back the results from the latest Writers of the Future contest. I've been entering this thing for over a year now. I finally got through the first pass and... only achieved an honourable mention.

:\

I know I should be happy that I've at least reached that but I just find the process so defeating. This is on top of struggling to just get people to even read my stuff let alone finding helpful editing. Doesn't help that I don't even know what the hell to do to even get my stories into the top. The whole process just feels like a soul crushing crap shoot.

Which... I understand is the case... but it still sucks.

So, I suppose my question to the rest of you would be one about length. The contest states that it accepts entries up to 17,000 words. I know I'm pretty long winded and I've been trying to trim it down but do you think that it's perhaps a "trap" number. In that, do you think I would increase my chances of winning if I got my shorts down to 10,000 or 9,000 or even lower? Are there hidden publication considerations that aren't publicly stated and that longer stories are simply far less desirable?
Cyan
Red
(12-13-2014, 05:14 AM)
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Nothing wrong with an HM. I just got one of those as well. :) My story was pretty short, closer to 2000-3000 words. A friend of mine was a finalist for the prior quarter, and was nearly at the limit. If long is more natural for you, and results in better stories, write long.
Mike M
Nick N
(12-13-2014, 05:22 AM)
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Anyone in the Seattle-esque area frequent this thread besides me?
AngmarsKing701
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(12-13-2014, 02:25 PM)
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Ran a Kindle countdown deal on my book this week and only sold two copies. :-(

I wish the sales reports dashboard allowed for a year to date view.

In other news, I'm over 10k words into book 2, which is a first person POV and expected to be much shorter than Ahvarra.
BeesEight
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(12-13-2014, 05:08 PM)
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Originally Posted by Cyan

Nothing wrong with an HM. I just got one of those as well. :) My story was pretty short, closer to 2000-3000 words. A friend of mine was a finalist for the prior quarter, and was nearly at the limit. If long is more natural for you, and results in better stories, write long.

Ah, alright. Everything I heard for finalists had been on the short end. Little reassuring to know there are a few longer ones that make it.

I will probably aim for the 12k mark, however. That way I can turn the rejections right into Tor submissions without having to do further rework.
Plasticine
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(12-14-2014, 12:15 AM)
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Originally Posted by AngmarsKing701

Ran a Kindle countdown deal on my book this week and only sold two copies. :-(

I wish the sales reports dashboard allowed for a year to date view.

In other news, I'm over 10k words into book 2, which is a first person POV and expected to be much shorter than Ahvarra.

Countdown deals have been completely useless for me. I've done them in conjunction with free days, but rarely see a bump in sales. People seem just as likely to come back and buy the extra book at full price than bite on a countdown. I have no idea why this is. Either way, it doesn't result in a prolonged or even meaningful increase in sales.
Jintor
Lit himself on fire to get
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(12-14-2014, 07:45 AM)
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If general kindle shoppers have my kindle countdown habits, it's because:

a) Even for $2 or whatever I don't bite on books unless I'm sure it's exactly what I'm looking for or it's been independently verified as good (i.e. bookgaf says "Sounds cool")

b) I don't look at countdown deals very often as it is
Soulfire
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(12-15-2014, 01:46 AM)
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I ran a free promotion recently and apart from a few hundred downloads the first day I didn't get any purchases of the following books or any reviews. Thankfully it was only a $5 promo. I think I'm going to try and get new book covers before I run anything else. Either an episodic fantasy is a hard sale or what I have just sucks.

Since everything I have up right now is priced at $.99 I haven't been able to run a Countdown deal but it's nice to see how it's working for others. Thanks for the info.
Conkersbadfurday
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(12-15-2014, 03:49 AM)
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Damn. So I'm trying to get myself psyched up to start my next project. After spending so much time editing, it's hard to get back into writing. It's an idea I've had for over a year, which doesn't help me. I'ts no longer shiny and new.

Hoping to start January first. I'd like to read Hamlet first since I kinda want to work with that structure a bit.
FlowersisBritish
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(12-15-2014, 05:46 AM)
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Originally Posted by Conkersbadfurday

Damn. So I'm trying to get myself psyched up to start my next project. After spending so much time editing, it's hard to get back into writing. It's an idea I've had for over a year, which doesn't help me. I'ts no longer shiny and new.

Hoping to start January first. I'd like to read Hamlet first since I kinda want to work with that structure a bit.

Boo! Don't read Hamlet. Hamlet's lame. Read King Lear. Now there's some dark shit to work with. No one ever alludes to King Lear...
kirby_fox
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(12-15-2014, 06:10 AM)
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Howdy writing GAF.

Just finished my extensive editing of my novel. Been working on this for 4 years now. Decided to give traditional publishing a go and working on queries.

It's about as soul sucking as looking for a job...having to research all these agents, write a letter specifically for them, and I'm having serious trouble trying to explain what my book is without giving the entire story away. Anyone else have this issue? There's a major point to the book that can't just be told, but it's central to explaining what's going on in it.
fredrancour
Member
(12-15-2014, 06:30 AM)

Originally Posted by kirby_fox

Howdy writing GAF.

Just finished my extensive editing of my novel. Been working on this for 4 years now. Decided to give traditional publishing a go and working on queries.

It's about as soul sucking as looking for a job...having to research all these agents, write a letter specifically for them, and I'm having serious trouble trying to explain what my book is without giving the entire story away. Anyone else have this issue? There's a major point to the book that can't just be told, but it's central to explaining what's going on in it.

disclaimer:
I have never been published and everything I know about query letters comes from listening to episodes of Writing Excuses. They're all been published though, so it's probably good information. Cyan loves them too I think. I think there's a dedicated query letter episode someplace in there, but they've got a ton of episodes and a poor tag system.





If I remember correctly, you're not supposed to attempt to surprise the people you're writing a query letter to. You are allowed to spoil the hell out of the book for them. Editors and agents know how to evaluate books. They earn their paychecks by doing it, and by convincing others of those opinions. If the twist, and the book surrounding it, are good enough to meet their standards, they will be able to appreciate the story even without being blindsided by said twist firsthand. Then, when it's time to sell the books to consumers, you have professional help with the question of selling customers on the book without spoiling it.

perhaps structuring the query letter so that it gives information on the context in which the twist is revealed would help?

Or find the query letter episode on writing excuses.
Last edited by fredrancour; 12-15-2014 at 06:32 AM.
Daft Fear
Junior Member
(12-15-2014, 07:31 PM)
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Originally Posted by kirby_fox

Howdy writing GAF.

Just finished my extensive editing of my novel. Been working on this for 4 years now. Decided to give traditional publishing a go and working on queries.

It's about as soul sucking as looking for a job...having to research all these agents, write a letter specifically for them, and I'm having serious trouble trying to explain what my book is without giving the entire story away. Anyone else have this issue? There's a major point to the book that can't just be told, but it's central to explaining what's going on in it.

Writing queries is hard. Really hard. I'm in that process at the moment, too. I've found Query Shark most helpful, really. Go through the archives there to see what to do and what not to do. You can even submit to her, if you like and feel comfortable doing so, and see what she says about your query on how to improve it. She is an agent, after all, and would probably know best.
Conkersbadfurday
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(12-16-2014, 12:04 AM)
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Originally Posted by FlowersisBritish

Boo! Don't read Hamlet. Hamlet's lame. Read King Lear. Now there's some dark shit to work with. No one ever alludes to King Lear...

Hamlet is the best. Also, King Lear was surprisingly funny when I read it last year. Or maybe I wasn't supposed to laugh at some of those parts...

On the topic of query letters:

They're a damn bitch. I have a draft of one still waiting on feedback from someone who worked at a publishing house. Her best advice was to not try and break the mold. Lots of people think they'll be the special chaps that really wow you with their creative query, but honestly, agents just want the standard. Talk about yourself a bit alongside the book, then give a synopsis of the book. Include however many pages they want you to. Don't give a breakdown of everything unless asked.

Some people do that too, apparently.
Zeuanimals
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(12-16-2014, 12:23 AM)
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How do you guys tend to get your ideas? I'm 99% sure my method is terrible; just write something, likely cliched, and build it from there. I need some kind of brainstorming technique to get my juices flowing so I don't just create a nonsensical mess. Maybe create some kind of web thing too so plotlines flow organically rather than go nowhere or end in an unappealing way.
Woorloog
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(12-16-2014, 12:28 AM)
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Originally Posted by Zeuanimals

How do you guys tend to get your ideas? I'm 99% sure my method is terrible; just write something, likely cliched, and build it from there. I need some kind of brainstorming technique to get my juices flowing so I don't just create a nonsensical mess. Maybe create some kind of web thing too so plotlines flow organically rather than go nowhere or end in an unappealing way.

What kind of ideas? Characters, plot, events... or just whatever, ideas in general?

I'd suggest you should just read stuff (books, TV Tropes, Wikipedia, etc.) or watch/play things... You will see interesting stuff eventually, either play with the concept, take the idea to different direction, or combine with another idea.
If you're the dream-seeing-and-remembering kind, like i am, they work as well, sometimes.

An idea is only a cliche when it is played the same way it is always done... but even then, cliches may be just fine, if they mesh well with the rest of the story (or whatever) and are well done (though how a cliche is well done or not well done is quite another discussion).
cosmicblizzard
Banned
(12-16-2014, 12:46 AM)
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Originally Posted by Zeuanimals

How do you guys tend to get your ideas? I'm 99% sure my method is terrible; just write something, likely cliched, and build it from there. I need some kind of brainstorming technique to get my juices flowing so I don't just create a nonsensical mess. Maybe create some kind of web thing too so plotlines flow organically rather than go nowhere or end in an unappealing way.

I always have a backlog of ideas. Before I work out, I try to focus on only one so I can hopefully come up with a basic outline while I'm hopped up on adrenaline during some cardio. After that's done, everything around me becomes inspiration. It might be a plot point in another piece of media that I'd like to take in a different direction within the confines of my own universe, or maybe it's just an unexplainable flash of inspiration.

When I'm actually doing the writing, stuff that I only had a vague idea how to handle gets super fleshed out in my mind. When I started writing two hours ago, I was pretty certain of just what plot points I was going to tackle. By the time I finished, new ideas that I thought were exponentially better had taken the place of my original plan. Despite being rather insignificant in the long run, I feel these changes add some rather telling subtle implications that should complement my plan for the climax.


Really, there's no right way to do this stuff. Find a method that works for you or just create your own. I know both those things are easier said than done, but keep trying and you'll probably get something worked out.
fredrancour
Member
(12-16-2014, 12:50 AM)

Originally Posted by Zeuanimals

How do you guys tend to get your ideas? I'm 99% sure my method is terrible; just write something, likely cliched, and build it from there. I need some kind of brainstorming technique to get my juices flowing so I don't just create a nonsensical mess. Maybe create some kind of web thing too so plotlines flow organically rather than go nowhere or end in an unappealing way.

Mostly by taking in media and then wondering about tweaks or remixes of it. A tiny side-dish of writing about personal experiences.

Any stuff of mine that feels original and well-rounded usually comes as a result of nursing one idea for a long time until a complementary idea occurs by random chance.

As for the process of getting enough ideas to populate a whole story, I do my wild brainstorming by listing crap out as it pops into my head in a disorderly note file, then by refining into a broad outline, then by actually writing. There are often sub-files of notes within that, where I'll realize one category of stuff has its own chaotic mess to explore.

It's not a very good system but I'm a better editor than outliner so I'm ok with it.



I've actually noticed that with the book I started for this past nanowrimo, solutions to my problems have actually been hidden in the mess of stuff I've already written, and have become visible to me after walking away for a while and reflecting.


EDIT: I use the word "actually" way too damn much what the hell.
Last edited by fredrancour; 12-16-2014 at 02:50 AM.
Jintor
Lit himself on fire to get
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(12-16-2014, 12:52 AM)
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I buy my ideas by the tonne off Amazon. The shipping is cheaper if you buy in bulk
Zeuanimals
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(12-16-2014, 12:53 AM)
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Originally Posted by Woorloog

What kind of ideas? Characters, plot, events... or just whatever, ideas in general?

I'd suggest you should just read stuff (books, TV Tropes, Wikipedia, etc.) or watch/play things... You will see interesting stuff eventually, either play with the concept, take the idea to different direction, or combine with another idea.
If you're the dream-seeing-and-remembering kind, like i am, they work as well, sometimes.

An idea is only a cliche when it is played the same way it is always done... but even then, cliches may be just fine, if they mesh well with the rest of the story (or whatever) and are well done (though how a cliche is well done or not well done is quite another discussion).

Yeah, that's pretty much what I do. And when I use cliches, I tend to mix them up a bit, but they still come off as incredibly cliched to me. After playing The Wolf Among Us, I've been messing around with supernatural noir tales, which is a hole I think I need to dig myself out of since I just end up making my protagonists someone exactly like Bigby Wolf or Jake Gittes with similar plotlines.

I think what I'm really asking is if it's a good idea to create some kind of web of ideas and a formulated structure that I have to reference and consistently hit upon, or is that all too constrictive? I've always been more of a free writer and I felt I was at a disadvantage in some ways but I tended to have more fun just writing, but the main disadvantages were that I burnt out and gave up due to lack of ideas and because I didn't have anything to really push me to write. Maybe some kind of pre-established structure will help?

Originally Posted by cosmicblizzard

I always have a backlog of ideas. Before I work out, I try to focus on only one so I can hopefully come up with a basic outline while I'm hopped up on adrenaline during some cardio. After that's done, everything around me becomes inspiration. It might be a plot point in another piece of media that I'd like to take in a different direction within the confines of my own universe, or maybe it's just an unexplainable flash of inspiration.

When I'm actually doing the writing, stuff that I only had a vague idea how to handle gets super fleshed out in my mind. When I started writing two hours ago, I was pretty certain of just what plot points I was going to tackle. By the time I finished, new ideas that I thought were exponentially better had taken the place of my original plan. Despite being rather insignificant in the long run, I feel these changes add some rather telling subtle implications that should complement my plan for the climax.


Really, there's no right way to do this stuff. Find a method that works for you or just create your own. I know both those things are easier said than done, but keep trying and you'll probably get something worked out.

Originally Posted by fredrancour

Mostly by taking in media and then wondering about tweaks or remixes of it. A tiny side-dish of writing about personal experiences.

Any stuff of mine that feels original and well-rounded usually comes as a result of nursing one idea for a long time until a complementary idea occurs by random chance.

As for the process of getting enough ideas to populate a whole story, I do my wild brainstorming by listing crap out as it pops into my head in a disorderly note file, then by refining into a broad outline, then by actually writing. There are often sub-files of notes within that, where I'll realize one category of stuff has its own chaotic mess to explore.

It's not a very good system but I'm a better editor than outliner so I'm ok with it.



I've actually noticed that with the book I started for this past nanowrimo, solutions to my problems have actually been hidden in the mess of stuff I've already written, and have become visible to me after walking away for a while and reflecting.

These both sound like good ways of forming a story. Thanks! I'm gonna try it.
Last edited by Zeuanimals; 12-16-2014 at 12:57 AM.
Gazoinks
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(12-16-2014, 12:53 AM)
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Originally Posted by Zeuanimals

How do you guys tend to get your ideas? I'm 99% sure my method is terrible; just write something, likely cliched, and build it from there. I need some kind of brainstorming technique to get my juices flowing so I don't just create a nonsensical mess. Maybe create some kind of web thing too so plotlines flow organically rather than go nowhere or end in an unappealing way.

I don't know if that's a question that can be easily answered. They just kind of... happen? It can be something that randomly pops into my head (happened to me yesterday, actually), inspiration from other things, pretty much just a natural result of a bunch of things swirling around in my head and sometimes coalescing. It helps to have a job where you can go on autopilot and think about things, for me.

It seems like the question you're more asking is how do we develop ideas. What I do is generally start with a prompt of sorts. It can be a premise, a line of dialog, whatever's popped into my head. Then from there I free-write in full stream of consciousness mode. I'll write about absolutely anything that comes to mind in a doc file, and slowly an actual story tends to come into shape. For instance, the early prewriting for my current project started with me throwing down a bunch of song lyrics I like, as well as shattered phrases like “One moment, I think I hear waterfalls...”, "Door", "Left without a grave", etc. until I eventually found a jumping off point (the waterfalls thing) and refocused on that, vomiting ideas onto the paper until it magically became a plot. :P

That doesn't work for everyone, though. I'm what I call an "exploratory" writer, which means that I like to go into a first draft with only fairly basic planning, and let a lot of the details come up as I write. The result is A LOT of editing work, but I feel it also lets me get my ideas flowing in the best way.

Originally Posted by Zeuanimals

I think what I'm really asking is if it's a good idea to create some kind of web of ideas and a formulated structure that I have to reference and consistently hit upon, or is that all too constrictive? I've always been more of a free writer and I felt I was at a disadvantage in some ways but I tended to have more fun just writing, but the main disadvantages were that I burnt out and gave up due to lack of ideas and because I didn't have anything to really push me to write. Maybe some kind of pre-established structure will help?

Different things work for different people. You won't know what works for you 'till you try it.
AngmarsKing701
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(12-16-2014, 02:24 AM)
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Sometimes I think through things that come to me. Sometimes it's just completely random. My friend posted a picture on Facebook of a very very dark chocolate cake and rather than call it devil's food I called it Demon's Heart.

Which spawned an idea she and I have been co-writing. So ideas can come from left field sometimes.
Conkersbadfurday
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(12-16-2014, 02:38 AM)
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Originally Posted by AngmarsKing701

Sometimes I think through things that come to me. Sometimes it's just completely random. My friend posted a picture on Facebook of a very very dark chocolate cake and rather than call it devil's food I called it Demon's Heart.

Which spawned an idea she and I have been co-writing. So ideas can come from left field sometimes.

Yeah. A lot of my narrative poems sprang from crazy dreams I've had. Sometimes shit just comes to ya.

Sometimes it's just a strange string of words too. I've gotten into the habit of writing fun word pairings down, just in case they'll do something special for me later.
FlowersisBritish
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(12-16-2014, 02:52 AM)
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Originally Posted by Zeuanimals

How do you guys tend to get your ideas? I'm 99% sure my method is terrible; just write something, likely cliched, and build it from there. I need some kind of brainstorming technique to get my juices flowing so I don't just create a nonsensical mess. Maybe create some kind of web thing too so plotlines flow organically rather than go nowhere or end in an unappealing way.

I work a terrible fast food job, and while I usually work drive through, I occasionally work front counter and I like to look at weird looking people and make stories for them. Just got out of work today, and I'm gonna start writing a thing about a kid whose dad is a piece of shit and clearly doesn't care for him. I also have a collection of cool arts I look at when I'm feeling stuck. I just turn on pandora and scroll through till something vague comes to me and force something out of that.
For me, the big thing is try and get as much as you can from as little an idea possible. If you can think of only one neat sentence, try and build a story around that with questions; why did you like the line, why would someone say it, what were they doing before. I rarely ever fully think through stories, and some of my best stuff began with just a guy smoking in his toyota.
Conkersbadfurday
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(12-16-2014, 02:57 AM)
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Anyone here in the habit of writing to music? I've gotten into it and really like it. (I may have asked this before, but since i drink like a writer, I forget things).

I guess what I do for writing exercises is find an instrumental song, take the title, and just write to the song in hopes of creating some crazy kind of poetry thing. It's fun.
Shengar
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(12-16-2014, 03:01 AM)
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Originally Posted by Conkersbadfurday

Anyone here in the habit of writing to music? I've gotten into it and really like it. (I may have asked this before, but since i drink like a writer, I forget things).

I guess what I do for writing exercises is find an instrumental song, take the title, and just write to the song in hopes of creating some crazy kind of poetry thing. It's fun.

Instrumental music is amazing for writing companion I agree, but I never thought them as a writing subject before.
FlowersisBritish
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(12-16-2014, 03:14 AM)
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Originally Posted by Conkersbadfurday

Anyone here in the habit of writing to music? I've gotten into it and really like it. (I may have asked this before, but since i drink like a writer, I forget things).

I guess what I do for writing exercises is find an instrumental song, take the title, and just write to the song in hopes of creating some crazy kind of poetry thing. It's fun.

Ooooh, that sounds fun. I might give that a try. I like to listen to God is and Astronaugh and Luntz, and they have some pretty cool song titles(Murmuring Mermaids, First days of Sun, Wobbly Flu Twilight)

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