• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

Writing-GAF: Writing, Publishing, Selling |OT|

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique
May 13, 2014
3,776
1
0
Maine
Maaaan it sucks when you start a project and write it and as you're writing it, it's not turning out quite like you hope! Oh well, I'm still enjoying it and it's nice to write regularly on something long again. Zulu has the right idea!
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 24, 2011
18,907
2
560
Maaaan it sucks when you start a project and write it and as you're writing it, it's not turning out quite like you hope! Oh well, I'm still enjoying it and it's nice to write regularly on something long again. Zulu has the right idea!
well I mean I am just taking the advice in the OP

1. Write the damn book. This sounds asinine, I know, but many writers never actually finish their book. If you want to self-publish you'll need to force yourself to sit down and actually write it.
well sorta I set myself 300 but I keep passing that with ease.
on the plus side when I do sit down and write I can write pretty fast.

At some point I need to get to editing and alpha readers though. Even if my whole story will likely be 15 books or so I likely shouldn't wait until I finish them all to get some people to read them lol. I figure three books is likely enough buffer between what I am working on and having people react to stuff. I already know I have to strengthen my main character's motivations though as well as tighten up the villain's.

I mean as for not turning out like you want... My characters are literally talking about how my villain's motivations don't make sense (which is partially the point of the villain's motivations but they need to make a little more sense then they do even if the reader is supposed to question the motivations to hint towards a later twist) It's not a big deal though, can be fixed in editing and my character is about to pass out from Lithium poisoning (assuming I can confirm that could be a side effect of having a lithium battery pierced by a spear over someone's arm and going into their wound. otherwise I might just go with mercury poisoning since it was an experimental tablet that was run through and bits were rammed into his arm >.> it's been kind of hard to confirm that would possibly happen on top of the acid burn lol) so it's not like there isn't wiggle room to fix it later lol.

edit: only made half my goal for the day aka 1500 words, but on the flip side I have tomorrow I can write which normally I wouldn't have so ideally I will hit a better number tomorrow.

edit 2: tomorrow here, got 1961 today. so not the 3k I Wanted today but..... it would be the 3k I wanted yesterday with a little extra if I had aimed for 300 today so I will take it. My current google searches though have for sure gotten me on some sort of list as I am constantly looking up poison, symptoms of such things, how heavy metal poison works ect. I needed my expert assassin to be able to chime in about a character dying of poison in detail >.<:

other plus side... since I started my streak of writing each day I am now up to over 11k words of which I think only 2-3k would be done if I wasn't pushing myself each day to write. and like 8k of it is likely usable to some degree lol.
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 24, 2011
18,907
2
560
I swear this year when ever I start writing well something has to strike me down.

my streak is broken, because I have been effectively bed ridden for the last two days with a severe ear infection.

even in brief moments I am feeling alright to type such as now, I can't write even if I wanted to as I can barely form coherent sentences. Even while speaking verbally my sentences are quite broken up.

I mean I know when I get healthy I will just have to make up for my missed days (arguably I was well ahead of my total monthly goal anyways) but it's still annoying.

On the plus side, I love putting my main character in painful situations, and I now have a whole bunch of new things to describe in regards to pain. So at least these moments that keep me from writing can be applied to my writing in some degree >.<:

note: I don't think this reads to poorly, but it did take me nearly ten minutes to write.
 

Soulfire

Member
Aug 2, 2008
461
0
0
I know it sucks breaking a streak, but you have to take care of yourself so don't feel bad about it. On the plus side you did it once, you can definitely do it again!
 

Valdfellgar

Banned
Apr 4, 2015
1,747
0
0
31
Massachusetts
allyouranime.net
I know it sucks breaking a streak, but you have to take care of yourself so don't feel bad about it. On the plus side you did it once, you can definitely do it again!
Yeah that's what my wife reminds me whenever I have to pass on writing for the day. It helps to have someone remind you it's not the 'end of the world' or a big failing if you have to skip a day for reasons.
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 24, 2011
18,907
2
560
Yeah that's what my wife reminds me whenever I have to pass on writing for the day. It helps to have someone remind you it's not the 'end of the world' or a big failing if you have to skip a day for reasons.
Oh I know it's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. I am just really tired of this year kicking me down when ever I get going.

I ended up going to the doctor again due to not really getting better and they think they got it wrong so I am on a different set of meds. between me naturally healing a little and figuring out a pain med schedule that somewhat works I am able to do a bit more than be in bed. Minus side... I still haven't managed to sleep more than 60 minutes straight since sunday, meaning my brain is kind of a jumble as I haven't gotten a proper rest in a while. My speech in real life is made up of a lot of pauses right now. And often I completely lose my train of thought right now when even typing up stuff like this.

plus side. I now have some ideas involving someone not being able to sleep more than an hour at a time... which given the next arc of my story deals with someone manipulating dreams might be applied pretty quick lol.

With any luck my new meds will kick in in the next 48 hours, the constant pain will subside, and I will be able to get a decent rest, and at that point I will resume writing. I could possibly resume as early as tonight, but I feel it is still better on focusing getting better first. I will just need to up my goal for the second half of the month to make my overall goal of finishing my draft of book 3.

I am having a moment where I can't remember what I am trying to say anymore... so uh... yeah. hope everyone else is doing well with writing at least.
 

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique
May 13, 2014
3,776
1
0
Maine
I just got a rejection letter from a query I sent back in 2015. That was two fucking books ago!

Dunno why the agent even bothered.
Duuuuude i got a long standing rejection letter a little while ago from a place I assumed shut down. Guy took the time to tell me my short story wasn't very good and i couldn't help think "I know, i figured all those things out half a year ago. Little late to the party bub."
 

Wafflecakes

Member
May 22, 2012
15,691
0
545
31
I am teaching a creative writing class this year at the high school level, and let me tell you what... if you ever want to feel badly about your writing, showing it to a group of students who expect you to be amazing and masterful because after all, you are teaching the class, will sure do the trick.

Every time I show them my work I want to vomit. I don't recall hating it nearly this much in college.
 

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique
May 13, 2014
3,776
1
0
Maine
I am teaching a creative writing class this year at the high school level, and let me tell you what... if you ever want to feel badly about your writing, showing it to a group of students who expect you to be amazing and masterful because after all, you are teaching the class, will sure do the trick.

Every time I show them my work I want to vomit. I don't recall hating it nearly this much in college.
I'm surprised you're showing them your stuff tbh. Though my HS writing teacher really didn't give a shit, and didn't actually grade any of our short stories in retrospect. She had us do peer reviews all the time and I think she used our comments to determine the grades. She also didn't teach us anything, it was entirely freewriting... She also didn't talk ever and told us to shut up.......

Holy shit, I never realized how terrible she was......
 

Timu

Member
Sep 8, 2013
20,072
1
0
Saint Leonard, MD
In the past I used to write stories/novels a lot...nowadays I just wait for Nano, lol. They would be hundreds of pages and such. Mostly focused on action, adventure, sci-fi and comedy with some drama here and there. I made a good number of IPs and they were for kids, teens and adults.

Coming up with new ideas is the hard part! Would be funny if I just reboot them all and do the ones that I was planning to do in the past.
 
Aug 9, 2013
20,734
0
0
In order to write in comics is it really about who you know? I talked to a famous author a couple weeks back and she told me she had a friend who does and she said that he says it's mostly about who you know. I started writing a script for one a little while ago since I'm struggling with my novel and this makes it sound like I shouldn't bother finishing it.
 
Jul 28, 2014
2,516
0
0
www.dualwieldsoftware.com
Welp, I've finally made it through the Preditors and Editors agent database. So all three are done and gone and I'm out of agents to query for The Grimoire Library

Two have the full right now, and I sent it to four more today.

If none of these pan out, I'm basically done. There's a small publishing house left that I could try, but it's so small that self publishing might be better in terms of net profit. That doesn't get me the warm fuzzies of having someone I don't know say "this is good enough for me!"

Which tbh, is all I really want.
 

Wafflecakes

Member
May 22, 2012
15,691
0
545
31
I'm surprised you're showing them your stuff tbh. Though my HS writing teacher really didn't give a shit, and didn't actually grade any of our short stories in retrospect. She had us do peer reviews all the time and I think she used our comments to determine the grades. She also didn't teach us anything, it was entirely freewriting... She also didn't talk ever and told us to shut up.......

Holy shit, I never realized how terrible she was......
The only reason I do it is because I feel that it is unfair that student's be vulnerable in that way and not their teacher.
 

kamineko

Does his best thinking in the flying car
Oct 7, 2014
5,245
1
435
Hi WriteGAF. Anybody here know anything about poetry? I'm just about finished with my MFA thesis, a collection of poems from four different speakers that has what people will hopefully find an interesting emotional arc.

That's all well and good, but what's driving me crazy is that I still haven't found a publisher for my first collection of poems. I've sent it to a bunch of publishers (no agents in poetry because there's no money in it except at the very top) without success, held feedback sessions where reception was positive... I can't edit it anymore, it's almost over-edited as it is.

If anyone could suggest presses or other ideas, I feel like I've hit a wall and can't figure out how to move forward. Anyway, I know poetry isn't a big emphasis here but would welcome any thoughts (self-publishing doesn't go over well with poetry... it has history way before the current digital age).
 

Soulfire

Member
Aug 2, 2008
461
0
0
Hi WriteGAF. Anybody here know anything about poetry? I'm just about finished with my MFA thesis, a collection of poems from four different speakers that has what people will hopefully find an interesting emotional arc.

That's all well and good, but what's driving me crazy is that I still haven't found a publisher for my first collection of poems. I've sent it to a bunch of publishers (no agents in poetry because there's no money in it except at the very top) without success, held feedback sessions where reception was positive... I can't edit it anymore, it's almost over-edited as it is.

If anyone could suggest presses or other ideas, I feel like I've hit a wall and can't figure out how to move forward. Anyway, I know poetry isn't a big emphasis here but would welcome any thoughts (self-publishing doesn't go over well with poetry... it has history way before the current digital age).
I'm not a poet, read very little poetry, and I have no advice for you. However, your post got me wondering about Poetry on kindle and the numbers.

The current #1 Kindle Best seller is Rumi, published by Arcade Publishing if you're interested, it's Amazon Kindle rank right now is in the 200s. That's not a bad rank, probably about a couple to a few hundred downloads* on average in a day. Of the top twenty in the Poetry Kindle category 11 are self-published. The twentieth book has a rank in the 8k, not horrible at all maybe a hundred or so downloaded a day, maybe. The 100th book in the Poetry genre is a Simon and Schuster Digital Press book called Zombie Haiku it has a rank in the 32k, which is a decent rank and means about 10+ are downloaded in a day. What that rank really means though is that Poetry readers are not very voracious. If you looked at Romance or Mystery the 100th book in their best seller list is around 1k because the genres have a lot of readers that read a lot, not trying to belittle Poetry just trying to give perspective.

I didn't look at all 100 books in the Best Seller list for the Poetry category on Kindle, I didn't even look into the subcategories, but I did notice a lot that looked self-published. One of the perks of publishing in a relatively small category like that, on kindle, is that it's a lot easier to get noticed. Here's a link to the list if you're interested.

I'm not trying to get you to self-publish, I certainly understand not wanting to do it, it's a lot of work and there is a stigma attached to it, I was just curious about the numbers after your post.

*My download numbers are an approximation and can vary
 

kamineko

Does his best thinking in the flying car
Oct 7, 2014
5,245
1
435
I'm not a poet, read very little poetry, and I have no advice for you. However, your post got me wondering about Poetry on kindle and the numbers.

The current #1 Kindle Best seller is Rumi, published by Arcade Publishing if you're interested, it's Amazon Kindle rank right now is in the 200s. That's not a bad rank, probably about a couple to a few hundred downloads* on average in a day. Of the top twenty in the Poetry Kindle category 11 are self-published. The twentieth book has a rank in the 8k, not horrible at all maybe a hundred or so downloaded a day, maybe. The 100th book in the Poetry genre is a Simon and Schuster Digital Press book called Zombie Haiku it has a rank in the 32k, which is a decent rank and means about 10+ are downloaded in a day. What that rank really means though is that Poetry readers are not very voracious. If you looked at Romance or Mystery the 100th book in their best seller list is around 1k because the genres have a lot of readers that read a lot, not trying to belittle Poetry just trying to give perspective.

I didn't look at all 100 books in the Best Seller list for the Poetry category on Kindle, I didn't even look into the subcategories, but I did notice a lot that looked self-published. One of the perks of publishing in a relatively small category like that, on kindle, is that it's a lot easier to get noticed. Here's a link to the list if you're interested.

I'm not trying to get you to self-publish, I certainly understand not wanting to do it, it's a lot of work and there is a stigma attached to it, I was just curious about the numbers after your post.

*My download numbers are an approximation and can vary
Hey, thanks for looking into that. One issue is that most contemporary poetry is not available digitally--only the big time folks wind up there. I'm not sure why that is, exactly. I suppose the main reason is that most books of poetry are put out by small presses--almost everybody is doing stuff for free out of love. Weirdly, hardly any of them are publishing digital. Digital is mainly superstars of the canon, plus some platinum-tier writers like Claudia Rankine, then finally self-published poetry which largely goes unread.

"Unread" being a relative term. Compared to contemporary fiction sales, hardly anybody is reading poetry. It's... a kind of boutique industry, I guess. Most successful poets make hardly anything on poetry. The money is in teaching and guest-speaking at universities. I think that I'd only get like 3-4k USD at my dream press, but the publication itself would be of great value.

Rumi is a 13th-century Persian poet, and Zombie Haiku is a novelty title. Both of which are cool (I'd probably like the zombie thing), but outside of this weird world I'm talking about. It's still good information, though--an indication of how jacked poetry is in the wider world of publishing and distribution.
 
Jul 28, 2014
2,516
0
0
www.dualwieldsoftware.com
I feel like my sub conscious knows I'm gearing up to start another book (probably not till December or January, but still) because I've been dreaming really fucking wild lately. Some of them involve book ideas I had ages ago too.

Got a concept and half a character, and I dreamed up a plot that upon waking up was pretty shit. Still, there was usable stuff there. He's no longer half a character but three quarters a character.

Last night was equally wild ending in a scene that was similar to something in season 3 of The Leftovers. It was so sad and bittersweet that I cried tears made out of frosting D:

Dreams are fucking stupid.

Still aiming to do the pirate book. Wish my subconscious would help me with that one.
 

lunch

there's ALWAYS ONE
Aug 27, 2011
4,149
0
0
Hi WriteGAF. Anybody here know anything about poetry? I'm just about finished with my MFA thesis, a collection of poems from four different speakers that has what people will hopefully find an interesting emotional arc.

That's all well and good, but what's driving me crazy is that I still haven't found a publisher for my first collection of poems. I've sent it to a bunch of publishers (no agents in poetry because there's no money in it except at the very top) without success, held feedback sessions where reception was positive... I can't edit it anymore, it's almost over-edited as it is.

If anyone could suggest presses or other ideas, I feel like I've hit a wall and can't figure out how to move forward. Anyway, I know poetry isn't a big emphasis here but would welcome any thoughts (self-publishing doesn't go over well with poetry... it has history way before the current digital age).
Are the poems interconnected to such a degree that you couldn't submit a few to various literary journals? I've yet to come across a modern book of poetry in which a large number of the poems weren't first published in a journal.
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 24, 2011
18,907
2
560
ah it feels nice to have my streak going again and feeling like I made up for the last week I missed.

though I am still only at about half of the word total i wanted to be at this point of the year.

Ideally I will get some decent writing done the next few days given that I can finally see the path. The path from what I am working on, to the stuff I want to be working on.

I am hoping whenever I get readers that they will think the recent stuff I have done is an interesting turn of events, as a week ago I didn't think anything that just went down would have went down. I love when I am annoyed about how things are going and then suddenly something just clicks. I don't love when I am annoyed about how things are going and then nothing clicks though lol.

Though I think I am going to have add a new general rule to my writing.
If my quick outline for what is coming ever has the statement "obviously X will happen." I need to try my hardest to see if there is a Y that will also logically work. As the Y this time was way more interesting than the X that was planned.
 

SOLDIER

Member
Dec 4, 2006
5,788
0
1,040
www.blamethelag.wordpress.com
Writing and drafting is something I really want to push myself into doing again, but the biggest issue that holds me back (aside from a crippling lack of self confidence) is that I can’t decide which format best suits my style.

I tend to find myself a more visual-oriented person, thanks to all the anime and RPGs I consume, but I can’t draw for crap, so that wouldn’t work unless I commisioned an artist.

I think the Light Novel format might suit me best, since you’ve got the occasional illustration for reference. That aside, I’m just too afraid to write pages of something in one format only to realize I was better off writing it as a script or comic instead.
 

Master Milk

Member
Aug 23, 2010
7,489
0
0
Writing and drafting is something I really want to push myself into doing again, but the biggest issue that holds me back (aside from a crippling lack of self confidence) is that I can’t decide which format best suits my style.

I tend to find myself a more visual-oriented person, thanks to all the anime and RPGs I consume, but I can’t draw for crap, so that wouldn’t work unless I commisioned an artist.

I think the Light Novel format might suit me best, since you’ve got the occasional illustration for reference. That aside, I’m just too afraid to write pages of something in one format only to realize I was better off writing it as a script or comic instead.
learning to draw is always an option

really though, stop worrying and just write
 

SOLDIER

Member
Dec 4, 2006
5,788
0
1,040
www.blamethelag.wordpress.com
learning to draw is always an option

really though, stop worrying and just write
Lack of confidence as well as over-planning are probably the biggest things that hold me back, but if you've got advice for the following hang-ups, maybe that can help me break out of my....decade long funk.

1. The reason I mention formats and drawing is that most stories I've drafted (both in my head and in paper) are of a fantastical nature. I like anime, JRPGs and supernatural horror, so I tend to think up the coolest fight scenes and the most nightmarish monsters I can possibly conceive. I think those genres are served best with a visual medium, because it loses some effect when you're just describing the fantastical elements (unless you're a super talented writer, which....well I did say I needed a confidence boost).

2. To add to no. 1, it makes me also think that I'm better with pitching concepts than actually writing them. I'll have specific moments or scenarios pop up in my head that I think could be awesome, but when I try to plan the logistics of how or why said scenes happen, that's where I start falling apart.

3. Thus, I wonder what would be the best way to start with an idea: I've read different methods that some writers I personally follow do: come up with the ending first, and write everything leading to that. Come up with the characters first, find a way to make them link together. Both are methods I've thought about trying, but my thoughts end up as a bit of a jumbled mess: would the character I just came up with be better suited for a sci-fi story than a fantasy one? Should this ending be the definitive ending of a long-running story or the prologue to a sequel?

Lots of over-planning, lots of getting lost in my own metaphorical maze of ideas. If the obvious answer is "pick one and stick with it", well that's a tough thing to do as well, as I rarely come up with something I want to focus on exclusively without scrapping it and thinking that I'd be better off trying this other idea instead.
 

The Scollard

Member
Feb 23, 2013
912
0
0
The Great White North, eh.
When is the NaNo thread going up?

I'm excited to do it this year since last year I didn't win because I was on a study semester. This year I'm on a work term and I have the free time to write. Got a rough outline of my plot (might need to bang out more details though).
 

kamineko

Does his best thinking in the flying car
Oct 7, 2014
5,245
1
435
Are the poems interconnected to such a degree that you couldn't submit a few to various literary journals? I've yet to come across a modern book of poetry in which a large number of the poems weren't first published in a journal.
They are interconnected, which makes submissions difficult sometimes, but I do have some publications in journals, including solid mid-tier stuff like Nimrod and Pleiades. I try to always have at least one publication forthcoming, but that doesn't always work out. I just had something drop last month, and I really do need to get hot on getting something new lined up.

I'm an early-career poet, I definitely need more journal pubs.
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 24, 2011
18,907
2
560
Lack of confidence as well as over-planning are probably the biggest things that hold me back, but if you've got advice for the following hang-ups, maybe that can help me break out of my....decade long funk.

1. The reason I mention formats and drawing is that most stories I've drafted (both in my head and in paper) are of a fantastical nature. I like anime, JRPGs and supernatural horror, so I tend to think up the coolest fight scenes and the most nightmarish monsters I can possibly conceive. I think those genres are served best with a visual medium, because it loses some effect when you're just describing the fantastical elements (unless you're a super talented writer, which....well I did say I needed a confidence boost).

2. To add to no. 1, it makes me also think that I'm better with pitching concepts than actually writing them. I'll have specific moments or scenarios pop up in my head that I think could be awesome, but when I try to plan the logistics of how or why said scenes happen, that's where I start falling apart.

3. Thus, I wonder what would be the best way to start with an idea: I've read different methods that some writers I personally follow do: come up with the ending first, and write everything leading to that. Come up with the characters first, find a way to make them link together. Both are methods I've thought about trying, but my thoughts end up as a bit of a jumbled mess: would the character I just came up with be better suited for a sci-fi story than a fantasy one? Should this ending be the definitive ending of a long-running story or the prologue to a sequel?

Lots of over-planning, lots of getting lost in my own metaphorical maze of ideas. If the obvious answer is "pick one and stick with it", well that's a tough thing to do as well, as I rarely come up with something I want to focus on exclusively without scrapping it and thinking that I'd be better off trying this other idea instead.
Again, just write it. even if you want to draw it down the line you will have a better basis if you write it first.

and pitching is easier than writing, but unless you establish yourself in some way you are never going to get anyone to care about your pitch if you can't actually make a story about it. pitches are a dime a dozen whether it's writing or video games.

My writing is also decently inspired by anime and what not, and indeed something like manga is for sure an easier medium for combat and what not. Thus I tend to focus more on character interactions/character growth, and if I do have combat instead of shaping it after something like naruto, I more am inspired by sports series such as baby steps or ippo which puts a greater emphasis on the technical details of things. which is funny given my combat system is still somewhat generic shonen :p.

but yeah... again no amount of planning, no amount of confidence will get you anywhere if you don't just sit down and write it. My writing is garbage right now, I know that full well, but that doesn't mean that it can't eventually become something good. I have tons of ideas in my story that I questioned if I could pull them off, and when I went to do them, I failed miserably, but instead ended up with something I think is even more fun. Plus it's fun to discuss the ideas that I do use with friends to get their reactions aka pitching the ideas to people after I already write them.

I was stuck mostly in the planning after I got so far with my original draft, and about a year and a half ago I said F**K it and just started writing. since then it's become even easier to plan, and if everything goes according to plan I will finish the rough draft of my third book of my series (which is planned to be a long running adventure some what like one piece :p) Next month I kind of want to jump right in and continue book 4, but I am going to have to spend it going back through what I have written, not so much to clean it up (which it desperately needs) but to make sure all my details are correct (I have a huge cast of characters and I don't like including many characters that I can't possibly use again sometime :p), and that I have them noted somewhere as I do a lot of long term set up that can only be done in a long running series. part of the stuff I set up in book 1 paid off in book 3. another major chunk of set up won't pay off until book 5 lol.

if you are going to be inspired with light novel/anime I do recommend setting up some personal rules for yourself. Sadly my story is effectively a reincarnated in another world story that light novels are known for right now... on the flip side I started with that idea/the story 14 years ago... so I give myself a pass. But plenty of other things I just won't allow. My main character will not be a gary stu (I had that problem in my original draft), my main female is not a damsel in distress, I will not build a harem (despite the fact that the first three people to join my main character are female >.<:). I have avoided making my main character a self insert like a lot of light novels tend to do (Well as much as I can, I mean to some degree main characters are a part of you, so to some degree it's a self insert of that part of you no matter what you do :p). Granted some people when they go to read this might believe he is a self insert (though I really love torturing myself then) but the character closest to being a self insert won't be until book 5.

but yeah to stop rambling. Don't worry about the quality of what you write, don't worry if it is good. Don't worry about format, or any of that crap. Just write. Accept what you make will likely be total garbage. But understand that even if it is garbage that it doesn't mean that it can't one day be what you want it to be. But to ever get to what you want it to be you have to actually start.
 

SOLDIER

Member
Dec 4, 2006
5,788
0
1,040
www.blamethelag.wordpress.com
Again, just write it. even if you want to draw it down the line you will have a better basis if you write it first.

and pitching is easier than writing, but unless you establish yourself in some way you are never going to get anyone to care about your pitch if you can't actually make a story about it. pitches are a dime a dozen whether it's writing or video games.

My writing is also decently inspired by anime and what not, and indeed something like manga is for sure an easier medium for combat and what not. Thus I tend to focus more on character interactions/character growth, and if I do have combat instead of shaping it after something like naruto, I more am inspired by sports series such as baby steps or ippo which puts a greater emphasis on the technical details of things. which is funny given my combat system is still somewhat generic shonen :p.

but yeah... again no amount of planning, no amount of confidence will get you anywhere if you don't just sit down and write it. My writing is garbage right now, I know that full well, but that doesn't mean that it can't eventually become something good. I have tons of ideas in my story that I questioned if I could pull them off, and when I went to do them, I failed miserably, but instead ended up with something I think is even more fun. Plus it's fun to discuss the ideas that I do use with friends to get their reactions aka pitching the ideas to people after I already write them.

I was stuck mostly in the planning after I got so far with my original draft, and about a year and a half ago I said F**K it and just started writing. since then it's become even easier to plan, and if everything goes according to plan I will finish the rough draft of my third book of my series (which is planned to be a long running adventure some what like one piece :p) Next month I kind of want to jump right in and continue book 4, but I am going to have to spend it going back through what I have written, not so much to clean it up (which it desperately needs) but to make sure all my details are correct (I have a huge cast of characters and I don't like including many characters that I can't possibly use again sometime :p), and that I have them noted somewhere as I do a lot of long term set up that can only be done in a long running series. part of the stuff I set up in book 1 paid off in book 3. another major chunk of set up won't pay off until book 5 lol.

if you are going to be inspired with light novel/anime I do recommend setting up some personal rules for yourself. Sadly my story is effectively a reincarnated in another world story that light novels are known for right now... on the flip side I started with that idea/the story 14 years ago... so I give myself a pass. But plenty of other things I just won't allow. My main character will not be a gary stu (I had that problem in my original draft), my main female is not a damsel in distress, I will not build a harem (despite the fact that the first three people to join my main character are female >.<:). I have avoided making my main character a self insert like a lot of light novels tend to do (Well as much as I can, I mean to some degree main characters are a part of you, so to some degree it's a self insert of that part of you no matter what you do :p). Granted some people when they go to read this might believe he is a self insert (though I really love torturing myself then) but the character closest to being a self insert won't be until book 5.

but yeah to stop rambling. Don't worry about the quality of what you write, don't worry if it is good. Don't worry about format, or any of that crap. Just write. Accept what you make will likely be total garbage. But understand that even if it is garbage that it doesn't mean that it can't one day be what you want it to be. But to ever get to what you want it to be you have to actually start.
All really good points. I feel a bit closer to mustering up the courage to try again.

But do you have any pointers on where to start? I know everyone has their own methods, but what would you recommend as the best starting points to plan out a story? Write basic character descriptions? Write a specific scene that you more-or-less planned out regardless of context (for example I had this cool dream that involved a Destiny-like sci-fi setting where a guy is being chased by robo dogs in a deserted city, while trying to take out the handler with a sniper rifle)? Or do you just push out the very first potential chapter and try to plan it all from there?
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 24, 2011
18,907
2
560
All really good points. I feel a bit closer to mustering up the courage to try again.

But do you have any pointers on where to start? I know everyone has their own methods, but what would you recommend as the best starting points to plan out a story? Write basic character descriptions? Write a specific scene that you more-or-less planned out regardless of context (for example I had this cool dream that involved a Destiny-like sci-fi setting where a guy is being chased by robo dogs in a deserted city, while trying to take out the handler with a sniper rifle)? Or do you just push out the very first potential chapter and try to plan it all from there?
I personally had a story to tell and just started it without to much thinking.
I focused on picking up some themes that i wanted to be part of my story such as the world is grey not black and white. Even if you are hurt by those you love you shouldn't give up ect.

My initial cast was tiny in my head when I started, and the actual start of my story was a complete and utter mess... lower than garbage, but i burned through it to get to the stuff i wanted to tell.

from there my original draft was just continuing the story as it plays out in my head. I have a habit of writing in present tense which drives my wife crazy as I tend to play out scenes in my head and write them down as I experience them.

as for the long term set up stuff, a lot of that is getting farther into my story and then deciding what stuff I like for sure from the later stuff and going back to my earlier stuff to help set it up. I am getting better at long term planning even without doing that. so I am in fact setting up stuff I eventually want to cover that i haven't created now, but at lot of the early stuff I did not.
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 24, 2011
18,907
2
560
I have an idea for an story this year so lets see if it gets done.
Heh, I'm gonna try to figure out how hard it will be to write out a logic based D&D dungeon (effectively) well logic and psychological. (aka book 4 of the overall story I am working on :p)

I at least have some basic ideas for it, but my original ideas/draft are done with 3 characters, and the new route is to do 3 different paths across 5 characters with each of the 3 original characters being on different paths lol (I at least know which character is going on which path, and have already set up some of the events that will go down).

ideally before nov I will hammer down some details so that the writing will go decently. I may have to sit down and attempt to design the dungeon layout, and some of the logic puzzles before hand, as I really want things to be interesting and fun, and if I don't come up with good ideas it will no doubt just be boring.

though, odds are in the first pass I won't be happy with it period but I might as well try lol.
 

javadoze

Member
May 13, 2014
2,768
0
0
I'm deep into writing my (fairly extensive) outline, character descriptions, and miscellaneous stuff for my NaNo2017 story. Comparing my thought processes:

2016: "I'll just wing it. The story takes place in the modern day. There."

2017: "I want to write a Fantasy story. Sounds easier when I don't have to worry about realism!"

*1 day later*

"Wait, I just introduced another race into my story. That's odd. Guess I should make some more."

*The next day*

"Hmm... I don't want to make an entire world, so I'll make a country for now! But if I'm making a country, I need regions and states and a governmental structure..."

*A week later*

"Why would this character say 'Happy Wednesday!' if the concept of the Gregorian Calender doesn't exist? I'm making my own!"



Needless to say, fantasy's more work than I anticipated. The worldbuilding aspect is half the fun, though.
 

Timu

Member
Sep 8, 2013
20,072
1
0
Saint Leonard, MD
I have an idea for an story this year so lets see if it gets done.
Let's hope so man!

Heh, I'm gonna try to figure out how hard it will be to write out a logic based D&D dungeon (effectively) well logic and psychological. (aka book 4 of the overall story I am working on :p)

I at least have some basic ideas for it, but my original ideas/draft are done with 3 characters, and the new route is to do 3 different paths across 5 characters with each of the 3 original characters being on different paths lol (I at least know which character is going on which path, and have already set up some of the events that will go down).

ideally before nov I will hammer down some details so that the writing will go decently. I may have to sit down and attempt to design the dungeon layout, and some of the logic puzzles before hand, as I really want things to be interesting and fun, and if I don't come up with good ideas it will no doubt just be boring.

though, odds are in the first pass I won't be happy with it period but I might as well try lol.
Well, just try anyways and write as much as you can!

I'm deep into writing my (fairly extensive) outline, character descriptions, and miscellaneous stuff for my NaNo2017 story. Comparing my thought processes:

2016: "I'll just wing it. The story takes place in the modern day. There."

2017: "I want to write a Fantasy story. Sounds easier when I don't have to worry about realism!"

*1 day later*

"Wait, I just introduced another race into my story. That's odd. Guess I should make some more."

*The next day*

"Hmm... I don't want to make an entire world, so I'll make a country for now! But if I'm making a country, I need regions and states and a governmental structure..."

*A week later*

"Why would this character say 'Happy Wednesday!' if the concept of the Gregorian Calender doesn't exist? I'm making my own!"



Needless to say, fantasy's more work than I anticipated. The worldbuilding aspect is half the fun, though.
World building is something I always love doing for the most part. It can set up sequels as well.
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 24, 2011
18,907
2
560
Let's hope so man!

Well, just try anyways and write as much as you can!

World building is something I always love doing for the most part. It can set up sequels as well.
I will :p

and yeah world building can for sure set up other things. Given I am writing a long series it doesn't really set up sequels, but I could do multiple prequels at this point spanning thousands of years lol.
 

Timu

Member
Sep 8, 2013
20,072
1
0
Saint Leonard, MD
I will :p

and yeah world building can for sure set up other things. Given I am writing a long series it doesn't really set up sequels, but I could do multiple prequels at this point spanning thousands of years lol.
I've done world building for some of my series as well. In fact, I did so much with one of them that there can be near endless reboots, prequels, sequels and spinoffs of it, and it was the 1st series I ever made back in the 90s, lol. Even crossovers as well!
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 24, 2011
18,907
2
560
I've done world building for some of my series as well. In fact, I did so much with one of them that there can be near endless reboots, prequels, sequels and spinoffs of it, and it was the 1st series I ever made back in the 90s, lol. Even crossovers as well!
I think all said and done with what i have outlined right now, I could logically pull off 5-10 prequels. Spin offs are a bit different thing since my cast of named characters is huge, and a number of them at least got a basic backstory and life goals set so could do something with. but I am not worried about them unless I bring them back, as they aren't important to the main story. The prequels can be so I at least decently outline those when I come across them.

WHY IN THE FUCK CAN I NOT WRITE? SHIIIIIT! I'M NOT EVER GOING TO GET ANYWHERE BEING FOREVER STUCK!
I'm going to try an odd suggestion here. what type of story are you writing, is there any story similar to it, perhaps a movie? and if so is it terrible, cause the worse the better. Try to locate an absolutely horrible story somewhat similar to what you want to write. While something good can motivate you to create something, I find watching something terrible and going "Oh I can do better than that." is a great motivator to get me going and it helps to know even garbage stories can be made into something.
 
Aug 9, 2013
20,734
0
0
I'm going to try an odd suggestion here. what type of story are you writing, is there any story similar to it, perhaps a movie? and if so is it terrible, cause the worse the better. Try to locate an absolutely horrible story somewhat similar to what you want to write. While something good can motivate you to create something, I find watching something terrible and going "Oh I can do better than that." is a great motivator to get me going and it helps to know even garbage stories can be made into something.
Well I did talk about it a few times on here, but I know time spans and all. I'm working on two stuff at the moment, but I should probably concentrate on the one I'm closest to finishing which is my novel. I normally wouldn't tell people a summary of this on the net, but considering I should've been finished with this years ago I'll do what it takes.

It's an urban fantasy story where people get powers based on their Zodiac sign. Centuries ago there used to be someone who could use powers from all the signs. Recently, someone has discovered a nymph has this power and she's gone missing. It's all over the news and the public come up with conspiracies where the government is usually the suspect. An organization attempts to rescue her, fails and meanwhile the nymph escapes from captivity. Most of the story has the nymph and two members of the organization on the run. They eventually get caught by the people who kidnapped the nymph. We find out he wants her to open a gate to the world of the gods, there we find out the leader of the group who kidnapped the nymph wanted to get there to recover his dead son who's stuck in Tartarus.

As I mentioned last time about this I couldn't decide how I want the nymph to help him recover his son because I feel like she wouldn't realistically. Some of the suggestions y'all gave seem to have required me to set up stuff earlier that I never hinted at and the purgatory thing with the baptism doesn't work because their is no Christianity in this world. The religions are based on mythologies. I'm at the very last chapter and I can't finish it.

I sort of feel like I want to rewrite the whole thing because I didn't have much opportunity with this kind of story to show the world building and the powers off and a lot of the popular books seem to have the main character be introduced into all this magical shit instead of already being well accustomed to it.

My first novel was a lot easier than this one.
 

Timu

Member
Sep 8, 2013
20,072
1
0
Saint Leonard, MD
I think all said and done with what i have outlined right now, I could logically pull off 5-10 prequels. Spin offs are a bit different thing since my cast of named characters is huge, and a number of them at least got a basic backstory and life goals set so could do something with. but I am not worried about them unless I bring them back, as they aren't important to the main story. The prequels can be so I at least decently outline those when I come across them.
That...is a lot of prequels.=p Yeah you definitely have something there man.
 

zulux21

Member
Oct 24, 2011
18,907
2
560
Well I did talk about it a few times on here, but I know time spans and all. I'm working on two stuff at the moment, but I should probably concentrate on the one I'm closest to finishing which is my novel. I normally wouldn't tell people a summary of this on the net, but considering I should've been finished with this years ago I'll do what it takes.

It's an urban fantasy story where people get powers based on their Zodiac sign. Centuries ago there used to be someone who could use powers from all the signs. Recently, someone has discovered a nymph has this power and she's gone missing. It's all over the news and the public come up with conspiracies where the government is usually the suspect. An organization attempts to rescue her, fails and meanwhile the nymph escapes from captivity. Most of the story has the nymph and two members of the organization on the run. They eventually get caught by the people who kidnapped the nymph. We find out he wants her to open a gate to the world of the gods, there we find out the leader of the group who kidnapped the nymph wanted to get there to recover his dead son who's stuck in Tartarus.

As I mentioned last time about this I couldn't decide how I want the nymph to help him recover his son because I feel like she wouldn't realistically. Some of the suggestions y'all gave seem to have required me to set up stuff earlier that I never hinted at and the purgatory thing with the baptism doesn't work because their is no Christianity in this world. The religions are based on mythologies. I'm at the very last chapter and I can't finish it.

I sort of feel like I want to rewrite the whole thing because I didn't have much opportunity with this kind of story to show the world building and the powers off and a lot of the popular books seem to have the main character be introduced into all this magical shit instead of already being well accustomed to it.

My first novel was a lot easier than this one.
While I have a main character that is being introduced to magical stuff (and amusingly i have my main cast loosely based upon the personalities of the zodiac but it doesn't play a major role in my story aside from the unique source of power for my main character being named Libra. I doubt any of the other characters will have their zodiac influence mentioned anywhere besides a trivia book somewhere as it's just one of those things I am using to help define my characters or if I ever publish and get popular I am sure someone will find this post lol.) I also know well enough that the main character being introduced into all the magical stuff and then becoming heavily involved in it is done to death (at least within Japanese media but I am pretty sure it's fairly common in other media as well) Thus if you can have them already involved and keep it interesting I think that would be the better way. The new to magic stuff is just a crutch to allow you to use the main character to teach the world to the reader (in general) and if it wasn't such an important thing for certain events in my story I would likely try to do away with it myself, but since I actively want my main character to be weak in general, and it's the explanation of a number of things, I have decided to just leave the new to magic main character that way.

personally if you are stuck and can't finish it, and you are questioning why one of the characters would do something, it might just be best to do the rewrite. Worst case you are at least writing and you might forge a better path (or even figure out how to finish your original path) best case everything clicks the way you want. A character not being motivated to do what you want it a pretty big problem.

I mean I don't know if it will work with you, but when I am stuck somewhere I just jump ahead to the next point I know what i want to have happen, and usually as I am writing that out I start to figure out what my characters need to do in order to get there.
 

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique
May 13, 2014
3,776
1
0
Maine
Maaaaaan I should never check contest postings. Knowing [i[when[/i] they plan to announce winners only makes me waaaaaay too excited for what will end up being a rejection letter :/
 
Jul 28, 2014
2,516
0
0
www.dualwieldsoftware.com
So here's another stab at my Toyland query letter.

BP6 is the sixth pawn in the black army. He's a chess piece. The problem is, he fucking hates chess. He'd rather spend his time at Darbie's strip club, snorting sugar or getting black-out drunk on cheap soda, because if there's one thing BP6 hates more than chess, it's being a pawn.

In Toyland, you are what you are. You follow the rules on your box.

That is, until one drunken stupor when BP6 stumbles upon a secret G.I. John weapon&#8212;one that doesn't shoot plastic bullets but spits real fire. Now he's free. Now the rules don't matter. He's got all of Toyland to explore and damn the consequences!

However, first he needs to find another candy dealer. There's no fun in exploring while sober.

Of course it doesn't take long for every soldier, robot, and stuffed animal in Toyland to want BP6 dead. He who owns the weapon owns the world. It's just a shame that one of those soldiers is his best friend gone AWOL, one is a white chess piece on a quest for revenge, and one is the dumbest terrorist in the Viper Commando army.

All of them are breaking the rules on their boxes, and in Toyland, you follow the rules on your box. The monsters will get you if you don't.

Toyland is a dark comedy/action adventure mashup, a Toy Story meets Grand Theft Auto. It measures 66,000 words.
It's better, but still not quite right maybe. Like, the monsters only go after one of the four people, John is AWOL but no one really gives a shit because the store is nonstop war and there's not enough time to care, and Frank is...well, that part is real. He's pretty stupid. John's thing is that it's his fault BP6 has the weapon, so he's trying to basically stop the pawn from going on a murder spree. The book has a big aim about what is and isn't real, but I don't know if I should or need to work that in there. I also feel like I need one more "meets [blank]" in the last paragraph, but I don't really know what to put there. I like the tone of the letter, but i don't want to push it too far.
 
Jul 6, 2011
17,812
0
0
NC
brianjlang.wordpress.com
So here's another stab at my Toyland query letter.



It's better, but still not quite right maybe. Like, the monsters only go after one of the four people, John is AWOL but no one really gives a shit because the store is nonstop war and there's not enough time to care, and Frank is...well, that part is real. He's pretty stupid. John's thing is that it's his fault BP6 has the weapon, so he's trying to basically stop the pawn from going on a murder spree. The book has a big aim about what is and isn't real, but I don't know if I should or need to work that in there. I also feel like I need one more "meets [blank]" in the last paragraph, but I don't really know what to put there. I like the tone of the letter, but i don't want to push it too far.
Hmmm.... this one feels too much about the plot. I kinda liked the earlier one better, but I know you didn't because it was too focused on BP6.

I don't know. This one just ... doesn't say "I'm different! Read me!" like the other one did.
 

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique
May 13, 2014
3,776
1
0
Maine
So here's another stab at my Toyland query letter
Some minor surface level stuff, but I agree that the tone is pretty spot on. You can maybe push a little more, but not much more.

1. I think you should move the "He's a chess piece" to the front, or rather mention he's a pawn in a game of chess. Something like "In the game of chess" or "On some chess board"

2. "explore toyland" feels kind of out of synch with the tone (It's teh only thing though) and it makes it feel more like an adventure book where he'll go on a quest and explore new lands and that kind of shit. Makes it feel more like Zelda than GTA.

3. "He who owns the weapon owns the world" sounds kinda awkward tbh

4. When you list off the three people after BP6, I first read it as his awol friend was the white chess piece, mostly because that kind of made sense in my head. It would make sense he'd be friends with another chess piece right? I don't actually know how you could fix this? Maybe mention what kind of toy the friend is? I do like the punch line with the dumbest terrorist though.

4. I'd cut off "The monsters will get you." Because the "In the toyland you follow the rules of your box." is a much stronger ending that ties back to the earlier line in a good way. The "Monsters" bit just kind of made me go "Wut?" which isn't good because (despite my listed criticisms) this was pretty coherent and made enough interest and sense to me.

Anyways hope these help and feel free to dispute them. I don't actually know how to write querry letters.
 

YesNOnoNOYes

Member
Dec 13, 2011
11,680
0
0
When is the NaNo thread going up?

I'm excited to do it this year since last year I didn't win because I was on a study semester. This year I'm on a work term and I have the free time to write. Got a rough outline of my plot (might need to bang out more details though).
If you would like some resources and/or support, we have a WritingGAF discord chat (quote to reveal link) where there's a few of us who hang out together to talk about our projects and bounce back ideas / feedback with each other.

I do think the GAF NaNo thread will be up sometime in October :>

Good luck this year, WritingGAF!!!!