how does one write a book??

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by TonyD, Jan 9, 2002.

  1. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    i have some small ideas that i word love to write about but have no idea were to start. are there any websites that point in the write (cough) direction. maybe a not costly book writing program? anyone have a suggestion. thanks.
     
  2. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Tony - what sort of info are you looking for? Writing tools? Information how to go about the writing process? Info on getting published?

    For tools, no need to buy anything. Just get out a pad of paper and a pencil. Or a typewriter and paper. Or text editor on your computer. Or a word-processor.

    Regarding the art and process of writing: there are a multitude of books about writing. You may still have a few of your high school or college textbooks on the subject. You could also browse the local book store for something that looks helpful. Or you could just start writing, and worry about editing later (a good way to help avoid writer's block).
     
  3. Chris Knox

    Chris Knox Stunt Coordinator

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    One word at the time...

    The only other thing I suggest is that you get a copy of The Elements of Style (small booklet) on grammar. Other than that there isn't anything to say. It could take months or years to finish your book and it's best not to worry about anything else but simply writing it for now.

    That line I wrote about 'one word at the time' might seem less then insightful now, but wait a while then come back and read it again after you're about halfway through your book...

    For now, just worry about putting words to paper, any way you can.

    Chris
     
  4. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    When I write things, the specifics of story structure that they go over seem a little stifling. My personal recommendation is to choose a section of the story that you really are excited about and just let it rip. It doesn't matter if it's the beginning, middle, or end. What I've found is that trying to write a novel from beginning to end is the recipe for writers block because you're stuck trying to get to the section you want to write about. If you work on the section that you like, you'll find details that will be able to help you finish the other sections.

    One word of warning here. It does help to have a plot outline with this approach, so you make sure that you don't miss any critical story elements. Also keep a sheet of paper handy so if you get any nice lines or passages for other sections of the story, if for no other reason than to prevent them from being lost in the writing ether.

    But, just dive in there and have fun. It may not be the most professional approach, but it's the most fun and rewarding (IMO).
     
  5. andrew markworthy

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    I've written a fair number of textbooks (and just got news today that two of them are being translated into Russian, which brings my tally of translations up to 11 languages). I can assure you that the last thing you do is 'just write', be it fiction or non-fiction.

    First, get a clear idea of what you want to write about, and sketch out the basic structure. Then, take this plan and try writing a longer piece based on this framework. Don't start with a full-length novel! Begin with a few short passages. It's probably a good idea to write about something which happened to you. There are lots of different ways of writing. You might want to concentrate on plot and action. Or you may be interested in describing character development. Or again, you may be most interested in a 'rich' prose style. Through practising, you'll soon realise which appeals to you most.

    Second, before starting a more ambitious project, sketch out everything you need by way of background detail, such as the basic plot, attributes, and background of all the characters, etc. That way, your writing will be embedded within a believable world.

    Third, make sure you invest in a good prose and spelling checker. Don't worry about getting things right the first time. I used to have a tutor who said you should have blue pencil and red pencil days. On blue pencil days when you're feeling creative you write whatever is in your head. On red pencil days, you go back over what you've written and refine it. Always try to leave something you've written at least a week before trying to correct it. You will be far more objective than if you read and immediately try to correct.

    Fourth, if you can't do so already, learn to type properly! I am not being facetious! Your output will flow far more smoothly if you're concentrating on the words on the page and not where the letter 'j' is on the keyboard.

    Fifth, don't expect everything to come together straight away. The great secret of success in writing is to persevere.

    Sixth, get hold of some good reliable guides on where to send your manuscripts!
     
  6. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    If you're thinking of writing fiction, there's an excellent guide called, Structuring Your Novel. It uses examples from I think ten classic novels and walks you through putting it together. I'm not sure if it's still in print, but you can probably find it in a large library.
     
  7. Marty Christion

    Marty Christion Stunt Coordinator

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  8. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Check out Writer's Digest magazine, too.

    But do you have a natural way with words, and a grasp of structure, flow, etc.? Can you self-edit, as well? If you have the natural ability, then it will all come together (with work and discipline, that is). A good writer is his or her own harshest critic.

    Good luck.

    (And, yes, get a copy of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. You might also want to invest in a copy of The Chicago Manual of Style.)
     
  9. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    thanks for all the suggestions. i will definitley check out that web site and look up some of the books that were offered up.
     
  10. Max Knight

    Max Knight Supporting Actor

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    My mother is a professional author with over 80 books to her name (or roughly that, the last time I counted!). I think the best advice she ever gave in regards to writing was this:

    "If you want to write, just write."

    When you want to write something, try to write every day or as often as possible. You don't have to set yourself a page goal (though that can help at times), but just sit down (or stand if you want to take a page from Hemmingway!) and write. You can always clean up what you have written later.

    Once over the course of a summer I decided to write a short novel. I made sure that I spent a few hours every weekday (and often weekends) writing. I was quite amazed when by the end of the summer I had finished! I never got it published, but it was a fun project.

    -Max
     
  11. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    When I was starting out a few years ago, a friend gave me a book called "Words Fail Me" -- I'm sorry but I've forgotten the author. It was a really nice set of suggestions on how to write creatively.

    But yes, a certain amount has to be innate. Do you like to tell stories? That helps. Do you feel the words flow from your mind to the page? That helps too.
     

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