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The wannabe an author thread......


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An ambition of mine for years has been to write a novel. I am convinced that I have a book in me.

 

So much so, that I even started the great "RY Novel" a year or so ago. Got to page three, and realised "hey, this is tough!", and promptly postponed my novel writing endeavours indefinitely.

 

Would any authors care to part with some tips to get that story that is in my head on to paper?

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All I can say is you do not have a novel in you until the novel is out of you.

As much as I am an undisciplined person, writing a novel (40-200K words) takes a sense of stick-to-itness.

Perhaps you can set aside 1-2 hours a day to write - and write every day. It does not matter the quality - you need to get it on paper. Obviously the better the quality the quicker the edit - but and in particular, for the first one --- Get it on paper.

Sorry - no easy way

 

Besides -- as you will most likely find writing it is the easy part, selling it is the big job...

;)

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Write, write, write!

 

It is not easy so you need to want to do it badly enough, I think. The first complete manuscript I wrote was utter rubbish, but it wasn't until I'd done it, that I realised just writing enough words on a page telling some sort of story was not a novel. There was a lot more to learn craft-wise.

 

My second manuscript I worked out had taken something like 700 hours to write.

 

If it's popular fiction you want to write I'd recommend getting a book such as James Frey's 'Writing a Damn Good Novel' or Albert Zukerman's 'Writing the Blockbuster Novel'.

 

Kate

 

ww.theladysoldier.com

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  • 1 month later...

The words have to get on paper, any way you can get them there. Don't wait for the muse. It only comes when you have to do something else. Sit and write even if you don't feel like it. I am convinced it is perseverence which makes you a published novlist, not incredible literary brilliance. Lots have the latter (I don't) but few have the former. So you get your thousands of words down. That's the draft. Don't worry if it's good or bad or any other judgement you might make - just get the words down.

 

My published novel took far longer than it should have to get to the first draft stage because I did far more editing on the way than I should have. So the first chapter got edited every time I sat down to write. Dumb. Once you have the words on paper - you edit and edit until you can't stand it any more. That usually takes about 20-30% out, from what I have heard from other authors and from my experience - the clever stuff, the show off stuff and every word which is not needed has to go. As ArJohn says, then you have to sell it.

 

It took me ten years to find a publisher, because I gave up too easily. I took the rejections too hard. Once I had the publisher, then the editor did her job. Took my very, very best work and improved it greatly. It's a team job.

 

The other big mistake I made was thinking that if some of it came easily, then that was the rubbish. The stuff I worked at to make clever and literary was what didn't make it to the published page. The stuff which just flew, did, without exception. That is 'my voice', as the saying goes. I didn't trust my voice. I still struggle with it.

 

I have since had a narrative non-fiction published and have signed another non-fiction contract, but am also working on the next novel.

 

Now to take my own advice!

 

Lynne

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  • 3 weeks later...

Persistance! Persistance! Persistance!

 

Writing is physically and mentally exhausting and it requires a sustained effort. The author has to make his/her own luck, and that means learning the craft.

 

It took four years of practice to get my writing up to publishable standard, another eight before my second book was published. That's only the start of the journey. Now I've contracted for my 20th novel, and it's been a constant learning curve, since the competition is tough. Sorry to throw an old cliché at you, but most authors I know would agree, it's: 10% inspiration 90% perspiration.

 

Janet Woods

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi,

 

Do writers/wannabe writers have any experience of creative writing classes? I'm thinking of looking for one, as I enjoy writing and would like to write more and better but find it hard to put aside the time and to keep going in a bit of a creative vacuum! My dad is a writer and has has quite negative views on this type of thing, what is the general consensus out there? Are they very demanding? How do you tell if its any good? I hated being made to write stuff when I was at school, you know, 'write a poem about a tree', that type of thing because its so uninspiring and everyone writes the same thing, and I feel horror at the idea of coming out with adolescent-style crap again!! But I don't know how else to go about learning and developing creatively.

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Hi,

 

Do writers/wannabe writers have any experience of creative writing classes? I'm thinking of looking for one, as I enjoy writing and would like to write more and better but find it hard to put aside the time and to keep going in a bit of a creative vacuum! My dad is a writer and has has quite negative views on this type of thing, what is the general consensus out there? Are they very demanding? How do you tell if its any good? I hated being made to write stuff when I was at school, you know, 'write a poem about a tree', that type of thing because its so uninspiring and everyone writes the same thing, and I feel horror at the idea of coming out with adolescent-style crap again!! But I don't know how else to go about learning and developing creatively.

 

I have had experience of creative writing classes and found them useful up to a point. First rule for me (re Dad) is not to discuss or consult with family and friends because, in my experience, they instantly feel threatened. I think in the early stages it is best to do whatever is right for you. I found that people were a bit too kind, so the feedback didn't always help - that's just my feeling. But it was a good way to get started.

 

I'm now taking the OU 12 week course in Fiction Writing. This is the most useful thing I have done - it is very structured and takes you through character, setting, plot with lots of small exercises of between 250 - 500 words. A lot of our writing is posted on the conference board so that we get to know other people's work and give and receive good feedback. The tutor is excellent and constructive - especially in teaching how to edit out anything not relevant to the story. As everything is done on line there is no need to feel self conscious or put down. The extraordinary thing is that, unlike your school exercises, everyone writes something different. You might want to give it a go. PM me if you want to know more. Good luck.

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Hi,

 

Do writers/wannabe writers have any experience of creative writing classes? I'm thinking of looking for one, as I enjoy writing and would like to write more and better but find it hard to put aside the time and to keep going in a bit of a creative vacuum! My dad is a writer and has has quite negative views on this type of thing, what is the general consensus out there? Are they very demanding? How do you tell if its any good? I hated being made to write stuff when I was at school, you know, 'write a poem about a tree', that type of thing because its so uninspiring and everyone writes the same thing, and I feel horror at the idea of coming out with adolescent-style crap again!! But I don't know how else to go about learning and developing creatively.

 

Negativity is something that new writers can do without. Your dad probably means well, but he's lived several years longer than you and his ideas have been formed by his own life experiences, which are different to what yours are going to be. The way to develop creatively is to write! write! write! A writing class can teach you the basic skills of the craft. Be aware that editors love authors who can present a neat, error free manuscript, as well as a good story and characterisation. The rest comes from inside you. As for classes being any good; if you put something into it, something good may come out of it. Go for it. You'll learn something, so how can it be wasted. And get inspired about trees. They're nice creatures who have a hard time of it these days.

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Eek, I didn't mean it to sound negative re my dad! Actually, I meant his general opinion, not his opinion about me and classes, which I hadn't asked, plus he never reads my stories because I wouldn't be able to handle criticism from that quarter!! I think it is also very good to not involve relatives, taking my lead from the same rule in psychiatry!!!!!

 

I might look into the OU course, that sounds more up my street. Thanks for the tips.

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  • 1 month later...

While more geared toward the mystery -- a GREAT book that helped me pull together, and sell WolfPointe is: Telling Lies for Fun & Profit. It was so instrumental - I sought out the author, Laurence Block and asked him to sign it. He most graciously did. Also by Block is-- >Writing the Novel.

Mr. Block has an easygoing and humorous way to helping out the writer. I recommend both.

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