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Postby aldan » Wed May 25, 2005 10:06 pm

It's both literally and figuratively (IMO) a mask or veil.
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and to appear stupid than
to open it and remove all doubt."
---Mark Twain
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Postby Benjaru » Thu May 26, 2005 10:33 am

I know that when I start a story, it takes me awhile to immerse myself in the story so that it'll "write itself".


Thank you aldan! Good advice.

Man, I can already see how much that bit of info will help me...

As for the makeup, never touched the stuff. I agree about the mask thing...

Thanks again guys!
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Postby Manji » Mon May 30, 2005 8:06 am

You sure do know a lot about putting on Make-Up Aldan. . . :?

Seriously, though, I find it a lot easier to plot every event out before I start writing. That way, I have a clear end and know how everything is going to turn out.

I used to write with only a basic idea. That's a really stupid way to write. If you write like this, I'm sorry, but write something like this go back after six months and read it. You WILL be surprised at how bad it is.
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Postby Benjaru » Mon May 30, 2005 10:41 am

Uh-huh Manji... :)

Every single person that talks to my protagonist has a back story, at least going back a week or two, sometimes I plot out the other characters whole lives. I can't stand just sticking in paper characters, at the very least they should be wax...

As for plotting out every scene, I usually write every scene in my head before ever coming to paper. Unfortunately it usually looks a lot better in my head than on paper!
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Postby Alaskamatt17 » Tue May 31, 2005 4:25 pm

Sorry I haven't been around a lately, the bandwidth at my house ran out for the month so I haven't been able to use the internet at all. I'm typing this from an old Gateway at the elementary school where my mom works.

I like the conversation so far, I'm glad other people started jumping in and offering their advice, too--this thread isn't just for me.

Anyway, I've been doing a lot of things since I lost my connection to the rest of the world. Mostly reading, but I've also been writing and making an amateur movie. Magus, you'll be proud to hear that I read my first Stephen King novel (The Talisman, with Peter Straub), and I loved it. And a ideas about writing sprung into my head while I was reading it.

The first thought was that I'll never be able to write as well as King or Straub; the second thought was that I could come close. I started looking at the technical aspects of the writing as well as just enjoying the story. I noticed that King spends a lot of time going in depth on even the minor characters--he gives glimpses into their minds, their lives. I also noticed a lot of fragments. Not terrible. Good, in fact (when used in excess).

King and Straub packed their book full of unconventional literary devices. They italicized almost half of every page (just an exaggeration)
and they
sometimes
dipped down a couple of lines mid-sentence (though this occurred only a few times in the novel).

Another thing: I found at least one adverb on every page. Every page! Apparently they aren't the devils most authors make them out to be (including King himself). I think I even state the evils of adverbs somewhere above; though I don't retract what I said about them, I will reconsider my stance on the subject.

I have a whole stack of other books waiting to be read this summer (my local library had a used book sale), and I'll see how other highly-acclaimed authors break the conventions most of us amateur writers are told to follow. I've got stuff by Isaac Asimov, Ursula K. LeGuin, Robin Cook, Michael Crichton, and Clive Barker... all authors who have made their mark in the literary world. It will be interesting to see what similarities and differences their styles have.
After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in esthetics, plasticity, and form. The greatest scientists are always artists as well.
-Albert Einstein
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Postby Magus » Tue May 31, 2005 8:25 pm

Good jeorb on getting the book. I haven't read The Talisman, but my sister has. She loved it, and I find that I have almost the exact same tastes as she does. Her favorite part was that it takes place in Illinois and that they mention U of I in it... or, wait, was that Black House? Oh, well.

Yes, King does have interesting devices while writing. He likes interrupting his thoughts mid sentence and adding stream-of-conscious narration in parentheses. I find that he's a master at it, where it actually amplifies the story whereas when I have tried it on occasion it does work and must be edited out. It's likely one of the most challenging devices I have seen, making it work well within the context of the story. You'll also find that he doesn't "flower-up" or exemplify his diction too much. He says things strait and simple, if not a bit elementary and course. I believe somebody on this site put it well, saying that he tells a story as if he's sitting around the poker table mid-hand. And, yes, he does describe and develop his characters extraordinarily well. In fact, he adds details in such a way where his books are quite lengthy but none of it can be seemingly edited out without looking like an editorial hack job... for the most part. And I don't see what everybody has against adverbs.

While I can't say for the other authors, I say that you have gold in Le Guin and Crichton. They are excellent authors, models, too, of what a good author should do.
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Postby aldan » Tue May 31, 2005 9:40 pm

In a spoken sentence by a character, adverbs can be fine, as long as they fit the character's personality. However, saying "he smiled wryly" or "she cried pitifully" tends to be a tell not a show, and you should show the feelings. This creates a much more direct connection to the feelings of the reader. Instead of telling the reader the type of smile, describe the character's stance, type of grin, etc., or if you wish to tell that she's crying, do it by saying she was bawling, that she was on her knees, surrounded by used *blanked out brand name* Tissues, and that her face was red and she looked exhausted. That would get it across pretty well.

Really, much too often writers use them as an easy way to describe something that should have more impact, but that impact tends to be lost when an adverb is used. It just tends to be a form of lazy writing, IMO. If you use them only a few times in a book, let's say once per chapter, and are more choosy with when you say an 'ly' word, you'll still get some use out of them for less impactful situations without losing the force of the stronger occasions.
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to open it and remove all doubt."
---Mark Twain
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Postby Havoc » Fri Jun 17, 2005 7:44 am

I've always been more of an idea guy than a descriptive guy. This means I often have many different ideas, or angles for one project (or more often for several projects). This makes any kind of actual writing very difficult for me,even if I can focus all ideas to the same world and the same story, it still makes such a mess of the background that I can't see the background anymore.

For instance, I'm currently working on a world (instead of just one novel) which I could use as a base for all future projects. I'm hoping that having a solid base like that will allow me to focus on a story, rather than a world. Problem is that I have at least two dozen different documents, each focusing on a different part of the world. They all cry for more details, but as soon as I open word, I either go blank for details, or a new idea shoots past, creating yet another document with yet another unfinished part of the world.

The only thing that helps keep an overview on this chaos, is a list with all the names I've given in the world. For example:
Geography:
Muilae (city)
Kaor (southern continent)
Tago (world)
....

Religion:
Wrakin (Plane of Chaos)
Pati (God of Chaos)
...

People:
Monnen (Teacher at Guild of Blades)
Daemon (First of the Nubaror race)
....
etc.
It's the pacing mate.... PACING!!!
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Postby Alaskamatt17 » Tue Jun 21, 2005 8:47 pm

Yeah, keeping ideas straight can be hard work. I have hundreds of characters in my current trilogy (Another bit of advice here: don't write trilogies when you're starting out. I wish somebody had told me this two years ago when I began writing Orion's Key). Most of them are minor, but they still pop up in more places than you'd think a minor character would. There are about ten pages of college-ruled paper in my three-ring binder taken up with just character names. I have them organized by character's hometown, and by faction. It makes it easier to find a character if you forget their name but remember where the main character(s) last met them.
After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in esthetics, plasticity, and form. The greatest scientists are always artists as well.
-Albert Einstein
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Postby Kwillz » Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:55 pm

Hey, I'm new here and just wanted to say that this has beena huge help.
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Postby Magus » Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:55 pm

Hey... where HAS Matt been lately...

Oh, and hello! Welcome aboard!
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