Five Minute Rant

Specifics about craft, talent, technique, etc.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby amoskalik » Mon Apr 11, 2016 5:15 am

Ishmael wrote:Study of another’s technique and the dissection thereof into mechanical divisions and the attempt to adopt said divisions causes a writer to lose all feeling of his own art as such. He ceases recording things as he sees them because he has attempted to adopt the mechanical tools of another, tools which this other developed solely to portray the world and its people as he sees them. Few are the points of technique which can be universally applied by all writers to all types and styles of work.

L Ron Hubbard

wotf007


Yeah, what that guy said.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Tue Apr 12, 2016 9:04 pm

pardon me for venting on something else so soon.

But this keeps bothering me more and more and it is related to my last comments.

Watching an online workshop and the teacher mentioned something that he and other pros have said a few times.

Part of getting better is writing and learning. Those two I have down-I could use more learning but I am definitely learn ing the craft of writing. But that is the only two things I have down and they are not doing me any good.

I have no problem writing and with coming up with ideas. In fact I have impressed two editors with my productivity but still nothing on any other level.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby disgruntledpeony » Wed Apr 13, 2016 2:36 am

LDWriter2 wrote:pardon me for venting on something else so soon.

But this keeps bothering me more and more and it is related to my last comments.

Watching an online workshop and the teacher mentioned something that he and other pros have said a few times.

Part of getting better is writing and learning. Those two I have down-I could use more learning but I am definitely learn ing the craft of writing. But that is the only two things I have down and they are not doing me any good.

I have no problem writing and with coming up with ideas. In fact I have impressed two editors with my productivity but still nothing on any other level.


A lot of the refinement of a story happens during the editing process, at least for me. What manner of editing process do you use?
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Brydar » Wed Apr 13, 2016 6:22 pm

My favorite remark is. "Some of the world's greatest writers were rejected at some point in their career." Well this is the information age and guess what, the power to put out our work has taken the sting out of rejection to me. In the past I might become frustrated, now we can all simply self publish on sites like Draft2digital or Smashwords. In the past if our precious, hard fought work was rejected, it would cost tens of thousands of dollars to get our work seen. Not anymore, so my rant is also a HUZZAH! Thank you to our technological age.

BTW; I plan on epub for all my rejected works, eventually.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:42 pm

disgruntledpeony wrote:
LDWriter2 wrote:pardon me for venting on something else so soon.

But this keeps bothering me more and more and it is related to my last comments.

Watching an online workshop and the teacher mentioned something that he and other pros have said a few times.

Part of getting better is writing and learning. Those two I have down-I could use more learning but I am definitely learn ing the craft of writing. But that is the only two things I have down and they are not doing me any good.

I have no problem writing and with coming up with ideas. In fact I have impressed two editors with my productivity but still nothing on any other level.


A lot of the refinement of a story happens during the editing process, at least for me. What manner of editing process do you use?



I hate to say it this way but that depends on what you mean by editing process. Do you mean, checking for nitpicks, misspelled words and related items or revising?

I will answer to both:
Checking the story over:
I usually do it my self because I don't have a regular beta reader or editor, but for some stories I ask for help. Sometimes one person goes over the story and sometimes five or so. I also post it on the Annex for that reason. If Edith every liked one of my stories I would by happy with that but I don't expect it.


For revisions I do some while I write. I am as one or two people referred to as Slinky writer. Which means even before I am done I go back over previous sections. I don't think there are a lot of us but enough for someone to come up with that term for us. And I also go back over a story anywhere from two days to two + months later. Usually two to four weeks. I do some more if the story has been critted or edited-sometimes both at the same time. I may even do some when I run a spell check.


And you didn't ask but I figure this might come up. I am a by the seat of my pants writer. Sometimes I plan certain scenes ahead of time-a few times I know the full story and just need to add a couple of smaller details as I go. Sometimes I have just the opening and no idea where the story will go. Recently I almost finished a story but can't quite figure out how to end it. I am talking about the last paragraph. I decided to wait and see what comes to mind. Once I waited five-six months before I finally came up with the next scene. But usually it's a few days.

That's probably more than you wanted to know but I figure it shows some of how I write.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Brydar » Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:16 am

I also am what you identified as a "slinky writer". Much of how you described yourself I find applies to me. I actually have one short story that I have written two endings for, I just cannot decide which to use, happy ending or outrageously happy ending. I surmise others have reached the end of a story as well when an inspirational and perhaps better ending or plot twist comes to mind - correct? wotf007
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby storysinger » Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:45 am

That's what happened with my current entry to the contest. Once I found an ending that worked the story was complete. After it sat unattended for weeks.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby amoskalik » Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:05 am

I'm somewhat of a slinky writer. I'll often go back while writing my first draft, just to remember what I was doing, and of course make a tweak here and there in the process.

But the real editing happens after the first draft. I like to wait at least two weeks maybe more, then read through the draft clean, ie not stopping to make any corrections or notes. This gives me the chance to experience the story as a reader, not a writer. How does the story read? Is it slow? Is it disjointed? How does it make me feel? Does it make me feel? Is the ending satisfying? Etc.

After answering these questions, I brainstorm ways to fix the issues I've identified. Maybe I need to add a scene, remove a scene, rewrite a scene, add more imagery, enhance a thematic element, etc.

The second draft is implementing all the fixes I've outlined. The third draft is line editing, looking for POV issues, grammatical issues, word choice, and aiming for a smooth flow. The final draft I read aloud. This often uncovers awkward wording, and is a good opportunity to enhance poetic elements in the prose.

Only at this point will I send the story out to my beta readers.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby OldDarth » Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:37 am

My current writing process runs along these lines for now - always subject to change. wotf008

Story Planning:

The Story Grid

Particularly the Foolscap Method
It's a nifty way of outlining your story.

Good podcast to listen to as well as one of the podcasters is a new writer starting out to write his first book.

Second Draft

After the first draft, I let it simmer for a couple weeks and then do a second draft referencing this book -

Self-Editing For Fiction Writers Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Dave King

I find it an excellent checklist for self-editing.


Beta Readings

- send it out and sift through the feedback to see if there are any common complaints etc.

Proofreading/Cleanup
Online for grammar / proofreading there is:

1) 43 Words You Should Cut From Your Writing Immediately - Diana Urban
2) editMinion
3) ProWritingAid

Hope this helps someone.
Last edited by OldDarth on Fri Apr 15, 2016 5:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby storysinger » Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:42 am

Thanks for the links Lou.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby OldDarth » Fri Apr 15, 2016 5:01 am

Most welcome.

I also listen to the Wrtiting Excuses podcast and regularly reference Brandon Sanderson's BYU lectures on Youtube:

Writes About Dragons - especially the 2013 set of lectures.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:43 pm

Not sure if this is kosher but if anyone wants to read something I have done. I have a story in three parts on my blog and started a new serial story today. Both are old stories that I freshly revised. Had to do a lot of work on them and even though, since they are revisions, they might not be my best writing, yet they would give you an idea of how I write.

They are listed on the blog thread.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby amoskalik » Sun Apr 17, 2016 6:36 am

LDWriter2 wrote:Not sure if this is kosher but if anyone wants to read something I have done. I have a story in three parts on my blog and started a new serial story today. Both are old stories that I freshly revised. Had to do a lot of work on them and even though, since they are revisions, they might not be my best writing, yet they would give you an idea of how I write.

They are listed on the blog thread.


One suggestion to add to your editing process, seek to remove works like "looked", "saw","turned around","felt","heard","thought", etc.

These words often show up in first drafts because we, as writers, are looking at our scene and describing what we see, but in the finished product we need to meld what we see with what our POV characters experience. Characters do not think "I am looking now","I am listening now","I am thinking now", they just experience the result of these reflexive actions. So if your character is looking at a spaceship, just describe the spaceship. The reader will intuitively understand that the character is looking at it. If your character has to turn her head to look at something else, again this is reflexive and the reader implicitly understands that this occurred, so it can be safely cut.

When you cut these words you get two main benefits, faster pacing and a closer connection between POV character and reader. But this doesn't happen by accident as it won't come out this way in the first draft, at least not consistently. I usually spend a complete editing pass just on this.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:20 pm

amoskalik wrote:One suggestion to add to your editing process, seek to remove works like "looked", "saw","turned around","felt","heard","thought", etc.

These words often show up in first drafts because we, as writers, are looking at our scene and describing what we see, but in the finished product we need to meld what we see with what our POV characters experience. Characters do not think "I am looking now","I am listening now","I am thinking now", they just experience the result of these reflexive actions. So if your character is looking at a spaceship, just describe the spaceship. The reader will intuitively understand that the character is looking at it. If your character has to turn her head to look at something else, again this is reflexive and the reader implicitly understands that this occurred, so it can be safely cut.

When you cut these words you get two main benefits, faster pacing and a closer connection between POV character and reader. But this doesn't happen by accident as it won't come out this way in the first draft, at least not consistently. I usually spend a complete editing pass just on this.


Thank you. I will remember that, but speaking of remembering there was a reason I added them but now I can't recall what that was-duh. Probably wasn't a good reason.
Working on turning Lead into Gold.

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published in Strange New Worlds Ten.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:12 pm

Came back to add Though that wasn't one of the compliments of Edith and Benda on the story I posted there.
Working on turning Lead into Gold.

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Sat Apr 23, 2016 7:11 pm

Had decided that last would be it for me today for some reason I started to think of one word in the only crit I got in universe annex for the new version of my story. I read the crit over a week ago but as I said for some reason it came back to me today. It's a word I have read before in crits. I believe the critters use it to sound encouraging. But for me it isn't, I am beginning to hate the word, because this far along, with all that I now know, it means I have almost totally failed again.

Potential, As in "this story has potential". If the writing is that bad I need to rewrite the story or something.
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published in Strange New Worlds Ten.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Muri McCage » Sat Apr 23, 2016 11:04 pm

I'm not sure this will help, but I don't think it could hurt either. I've found a few things that can really tie me up in knots, as a writer.

One is over thinking. Take it from the queen of over thinking that it can be like spinning your mental wheels, and just dig you in deeper.

Another is trying to write to any proverbial drummer but my own. I think we all have an instinctive inner writer that gets disgruntled if it's interfered with too much.

Along with those is being too concerned with what other people may think. I'm really guilty of trying to second guess all editors any story may end up in front of and that quickly becomes another wheel spinner. I do tweak or even write from the getgo to particular editors' tastes sometimes, but it gets rejected and I feel I need to reskew to suit other markets. That can become a vicious cycle, and even though I'll like all incarnations I end up feeling I've betrayed my muse. Not to mention caused substantial reskewing fatigue. :)

So, sometime when you have time and inclination, try taking an idea you really love and just go. Let it come out however "it" wants, and see what you end up with. It's quite possible that what you've been learning will step up when you're not trying so hard. Think of it as a fun experiment and see where it takes you. Some of my best plotting and writing happens when I think I have my back turned on it.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:13 pm

Muri McCage

Thanks for the response.

You could very well be correct; that I am over thinking or over trying. I have wondered that at times. But I don't how to test that or to be able to tell if I am.

As writing one the way I want it. I have and I just did. That last story-that started this with me-was the way I wanted it, except for perhaps the very end. I am still not one hundred percent satisfied with the ending but I doubt if Dave got that far so I don't think that matters. I think the stuff at the beginning does drive the story forward and helps to explain certain things that happen later but so far four people disagree with me.

And as to writing for editors, or whoever, it is hard to try to double guess a wide variety of editors. More than likely I would get it wrong for most of them. But Dave has told us what he wants. I don't know what Edith wants even though if I had studied her comments over the years, I might be able to figure it out. Whatever I am doing isn't it though.

I still plan to send the original to BCS, with a few tweaks, and see what they say. But I am working on two other projects that have time deadlines so I am not sure when I will get to that. One project is for Q3, I am almost finished with the revision and hope someone will crit it for me this time. It worked out so that it has less of what people have complained about in that other story. The other project is my own deadline for I am working on getting my next Indie book out on June 22.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby OldDarth » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:11 am

Brandon Sanderson has nicely provided a summary page for his 2012 & 2013 lectures at BYU.

The 2013 lectures are better as its his second go around with the material.

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby disgruntledpeony » Tue Jun 21, 2016 6:42 am

I've been diligently sending out my semi-finalist from Q1. So far, all I've gotten is a handful of form rejections. It doesn't help that one of the markets I desperately want to send it to (Shimmer Magazine) is closed until September. wotf016

Ahh well. Back to editing my entry for Q3. wotf042
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Ishmael » Tue Jun 21, 2016 8:49 am

disgruntledpeony wrote:I've been diligently sending out my semi-finalist from Q1. So far, all I've gotten is a handful of form rejections.


My Silver HM from volume 32 has reached double figures without receiving a personal, let alone a sale. On the other hand when the right market comes along you can still make a pro sale no matter how many wrong markets of varying status you tried before. Been there. Done That.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Ishmael » Sat Aug 27, 2016 4:07 am

wotf020

For the first time ever I thought I'd a story over 200 days to Analog. I was wondering whether to query. Then I managed to dig out the acknowledgement email (which I usually lose) and checked with their automatic submissions logging. It has been rejected. I don't know when. No email unless it went astray, which would be at least the second time that's happened recently.

I might have consoled myself with the fact that I had a story in the final round at Plasma Frequency. That one still shows in progress on Submittable. However the magazine has closed. It says so both on The Grinder and their home page. Will they get round to letting me know personally? I don't suppose it matters.

My submission to Alfred Hitchcock's is over 300 days. That's par for the course for them. My submission to Straeon reaches 300 days tomorrow. I queried in April without response.

Sometimes I feel that half the publishers in the world have taken a vow of silence and entered a Trappist Monastery. They might as well have done for all the communication one can get out of them.

I don't suppose I have been singled out for the silent treatment. I mean, that would just be paranoid, wouldn't it?

On the other hand, as Joseph Heller said, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you."

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby amoskalik » Sun Aug 28, 2016 4:22 am

I had a submission over 240 days at Staeon. I queried, gave them a week to get back to me (which they didn't), then submitted elsewhere. Of course Straeon is run by the same people as Stupefying Stories who have accepted a number of forumite's stories if I remember correctly and have yet to publish any of them. I still have one on ice with them. The contract gives them one year, and they have a couple of months left, but after that, I'm submitting it elsewhere, because in the end, our goal is to publish stories (and get paid which doesn't always happen either), not just get them accepted.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Ishmael » Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:07 am

Round about my third query to Stupefying Stories did produce a response suggesting that something was about to happen (in August if I remember rightly). Unfortunately thereafter silence resumed.

I understand that a lot of these publishing houses are really one man and a dog, and probably living paw to mouth. I try not to be a nuisance by making unnecessary queries. The problem seems to be that whenever I do query it's always the dog's turn to answer. (I do sort of understand dog but it's a very visual and auditory language and impossible to write down.)

I also understand that occasionally my email suffers the same fate as luggage booked on certain airlines. I wouldn't be surprised if all my missing acceptances ended up in Uzbekistan or the Cayman Islands.

Although I generally subscribe to the notion that no news is no news, just occasionally it appears no news is bad news but it got lost in the post.

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby katsincommand » Mon Aug 29, 2016 6:49 pm

Ishmael wrote:wotf020

I might have consoled myself with the fact that I had a story in the final round at Plasma Frequency. That one still shows in progress on Submittable. However the magazine has closed. It says so both on The Grinder and their home page. Will they get round to letting me know personally? I don't suppose it matters.



wotf23


I had one in the final round as well, unfortunately. http://plasmafrequencymag.com/ They're not informing anyone directly. Send it back out and move on.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Ishmael » Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:38 am

Thanks Dawn. I have stopped throwing things now.

My second query to Straeon produced a reply saying that he thought he told me in April that he didn't want it. This is good, because I discovered upon re-reading that the story could be really pretty good with a little work. It's out again to a better-paying market.

My latest query to Stupefying also produced a reply: something WILL happen imminently. OH YES IT WILL!

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LaurieG » Mon Sep 05, 2016 4:56 pm

Ishmael wrote:Thanks Dawn. I have stopped throwing things now.

My second query to Straeon produced a reply saying that he thought he told me in April that he didn't want it. This is good, because I discovered upon re-reading that the story could be really pretty good with a little work. It's out again to a better-paying market.

My latest query to Stupefying also produced a reply: something WILL happen imminently. OH YES IT WILL!

wotf011


Ooh, exciting!
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Thu Sep 08, 2016 4:34 pm

Not sure if this is a full rant but...


I am not as disappointed with my Q3 rejection as I expected. Maybe because of the two HMs from Dave, maybe because I was kinda of expecting it since the two HMs are form older stories with redone openings and some revising. This one was new. Something else wotf017

Of course I am disappointed since I worked hard on this one, with everything he has stated he wants, plus it should be cleaner than mine sometimes are. I mean with quote a few less nitpicks and such. Of course sometimes the nitpicks seem to stay even after I changed them, and/or new ones form I don't see as I do a bit of revising.

While working and reworking the opening I may have ended up forgetting something or even later putting up a roadblock I should have known better about-or even something I didn't know.


As I always do, I am assuming he didn't get very far, but as much as I wish I knew, there is no way to be sure how far he got.

Maybe someone else will like-I still believe it's a good story and it should be some good writing-but that has not been my experience. If Dave totally rejects it so does everyone else. And of course it's possible that while it an improvement with my writing it still isn't good.

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Sun Sep 11, 2016 3:16 pm

One more rant, I may have said this before-most things I have said more than once because no matter what I learn my writing doesn't seem to get better.



Anyway, people who use phrases that are more than likely meant to encourage but in my case after so long it does the opposite. Such as "The story has potential". As far as I am concerned if the story only has potential I blew it big time.

The note that got me going this time:

:I respect your imagination and your continuing willingness to produce fiction. As long as you're willing to continue putting effort into your writing, you're one up on the folks who never make the attempt. Your willingness to seek feedback is also brave and praiseworthy. All suggestions here are made in good faith.

The world you've envisioned here has its good points..."

There was a lot more but I knew what was coming after that so I think "So it was that bad." It was constructive criticism with good points but that phrasing doesn't help-in my case. It could very well with someone who is really a beginner but as positive as they are trying to sound but I know what is coming.
Working on turning Lead into Gold.

Four HMs From WotF
The latest was Q1'12
HM-quarter 4 Volume 32
One HM for another contest
published in Strange New Worlds Ten.
Another HM http://onthepremises.com/minis/mini_18.html

LaurieG
Posts: 504
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:27 am
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LaurieG » Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:49 pm

My 2 cents, LD. Take the "good points" your critiques pointed out, and strengthen them.

Also, re-read a story you wrote a year ago. Do you see things you would do better now? If so, your writing IS getting better, and you're mostly suffering from lack of self confidence. Neil Gaiman confesses that, about 3/4 through writing a novel, he is ready to quit being a writer because he "knows" he's no good. And that's after winning Hugos, Nebulas, World Fantasy Awards, and many others!

I'd offer to see your work, as other generous forumites have, but I'm busy preparing for my son's wedding in a few weeks. wotf007
http://laurie-gail.livejournal.com

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lots of HM's and Rejects


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