Been thinking about writing a book, need help and recommendations

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Dome Vongvises, Apr 17, 2002.

  1. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    This summer, I plan on

    working

    running

    working some more

    lifting weights

    writing a book

    I have a thesauras, a dictionary, and a story in my head. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Bill Balcziak

    Bill Balcziak Supporting Actor

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  3. Michael Pineo

    Michael Pineo Stunt Coordinator

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    This is the advice I was given when I started writing my novel:

    First, decide on certain number of pages to write everyday and stick to it. If you write more that's great, but don't write less. Don't put aside a certain amount of time, or you will just end up using all of the time you set aside staring at your computer and you won't get anything done.

    Second, no distractions of any kind. This includes family. Obviously, your family obligations should come first, but if you really want to write a novel, you will need to have some time everyday that you can work with absolutely no distractions.

    Third, just write. If this is your first attempt, don't get hung up on going back and re-reading what you have written. I learned this the hard way. I kept getting stuck because I would go back and read what I had written and would think it was just total crap. The best thing you can do is just keep writing. Just finishing a novel is quite an accomplishment (something I have yet to do and I have had this frigging story in my head for years). You can always go back when you are finished and make changes.

    Well, that is all I can think of right now. Good luck!

    MikeP
     
  4. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    Dome,

    There are plenty of good books out there that would help you. One I particularly like is The First Five Pages, by Noah Lukeman.

    Michael's advice on not spending time re-reading and editing what you've already written is absolutely correct. All the experts agree: you should just let it fly.

    Good luck!

    Jon
     
  5. Jeff Pryor

    Jeff Pryor Supporting Actor

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    Read Stephen King's book 'On Writing'.

    I write sometimes, mostly short stories. Never had the nerve to tackle a novel.
     
  6. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    thanx

    let's see how I do in September.
     
  7. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Well, I've finally started writing. I have this huge grand scheme of things. Problem is, my damn book is starting out like some junior high grade school crap. I don't have my file with me, but I'll post a passage I think is absolute crap. I need help. Fast.
     
  8. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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    Don't start your book at the beginning of your story. You should think about the detailed history of your characters and what they have gone through before they ever got to page 1 of your book. This will give you a foundation for plot developments and make them more believable and consistent.
     
  9. Dan Keefe

    Dan Keefe Second Unit

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    Dome,

    I am taking a class in word processing right now. My book touches on writing stories, essays, etc. An interesting piece of advice the book gives is to not edit yourself as you go. Write down whatever comes to mind, even if it is out of sequence. The point they were making is if you write whatever is in your head it will always be saved for editing later. Good luck on your book.

    dan
     
  10. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Yes, the curse of the "I've got to go back and edit all the stupid shit," bit me.

    I anybody curious as to what my story is about?
     
  11. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

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  12. ace peterson

    ace peterson Second Unit

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    Is it about a prison break in the 1950's?
     
  13. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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  14. brian a

    brian a Second Unit

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    'The Forest for the Trees' by Betsy Lerner is a great modivational book. Not to mention a great way to put off writing for a few days while you read it! It should make you feel a little less of an oddball writer.

    My personal experience writing shows me that you should never kid yourself into thinking that you know where your story is going. It'll change so much that you won't even recognize it in the end. Just let it go where it will. if you try to make it follow your original outline, you'll destroy it.

    That's just my style. Writing styles are very personal. The best way to be a writer is to write. That's it.
     
  15. Joe Wong

    Joe Wong Second Unit

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    People say you should always have an outline, descriptions of characters and their backgrounds, etc. I think I that would be good, but I'm not very disciplined in that regard. I tend to let things develop when I write.

    There's this story I've been wanting to write since I was 14... I started it and continued through university, but my skills weren't up to it.

    Then in 1993 I decided to start a different story for fun and practice, and ended up finishing up that novel 3 years and some 250 pages later.

    Now I'm back to that novel from when I was 14...just started it a few months ago...and it's slowly starting to flow. I repeat, let it flow. I mean, I have the rough plot all in my head, but the lines connecting the dots stil have to be filled, so to speak, and these will develop as I go.

    Good luck, but most of all, have fun!!

    Joe
     
  16. brian a

    brian a Second Unit

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    One other thing that has always served me well is quitting writing for the session while I still know the next line or two I want to write. That way when I come back to the work, I can start by writing those few lines and get back into the flow of the work instead of starting at a cold point.
     
  17. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    I'll post this passage from my first chapter. I'm working on the second one right now. Try your best not to laugh.

    Sarah caught the moment just perfectly. The second she looked at the edge of the hilltop, rays of light broke through the top of the tree line. The rays blinded her, and she immediately turned away with a smile on her face. Sunrise had come to mark the beginning of a beautiful day.

    Sarah turned to look back at her house to see somebody walk out of the garage. Her dad was bringing the last box of her belongings to her car. He stopped short of the back of the car and looked with fierce determination at the configuration of cardboard and plastic inside the trunk. He looked to the left and right, and with a quick thought had solved the puzzle of packing. With all his might he shoved the box as far as it could go into the trunk. With a breath of anticipation, he shut the trunk door and a loud click could be heard.
     
  18. Darren H

    Darren H Second Unit

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    I'm not sure if this is the type of advice you're looking for, but, in my experience, good writers begin as good readers. From these first two paragraphs, it looks like you're writing a "coming of age" story, so you might want to spend your free time reading great examples from the same genre. The first that come to mind:

    - Philip Roth's "Goodbye, Columbus" (start with this one)

    - Michael Chabon's The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

    - Walker Percy's The Last Gentleman

    And, of course, it wouldn't hurt to spend some time with:

    - F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great gatsby

    - Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms

    When you read, do so very deliberately as a writer yourself: figure out their sentence structures, how they introduce characters, how they describe actions and behaviors. You'll probably find that they spend more time showing a character's actions than describing the significance of them, leaving that connection to be made by the reader. For instance:

     
  19. Joe Wong

    Joe Wong Second Unit

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    I agree with Darren.

    I used to think having all these amazing metaphors, adverbs, adjectives, etc. in your story meant good writing. Sometimes less is more. Use these ingredients judiciously.

    Cheers,

    Joe
     
  20. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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