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  1. #1
    Brian W

    Getting Back Into Writing

    I found out via a podcast about the write a novel in a month thingy. Well, that month is over, but I still wanna write a novel. Anyway, I haven't really written much in the last decade. But I plan to get this done.

    Anyway, I want to say hi to every one and provide a quick writing sample for folks to check out. I'm very rusty, but this is kinda my style. Tell me what you think.

    Here's a scene from one of the early chapters:

    The Agency for the Study of Paranormal (ASP) occupied a nondescript building in Chicago.
    A woman in her late twenties sat at the front desk. She wore bright red nail polish (the cheap brand) and read a gun magazine. Her hair was blond and long.
    Jack Thompson, a man in his late fifties, wore jeans and a light red sweater. His cowboy boots sounded like a horse as he made his way to the front desk.
    “What's the word on Michael?”
    “He's adjusting to his new school. Thanks for asking, Melissa.”
    Melissa scanned Jack's ID and wished him a good day.

    Agents rushed around like busy bees. Computer monitors, hung on the walls, provided information on the supernatural activity nationwide. This was a supernatural command center. If someone reported seeing a ghost, the relevant information popped up.
    Larry Joseph stood in the middle of the chaos, orchestrating assignments and keeping everything moving forward. He was the man in charge.
    He wore designer jeans, a dress shirt, and combat boots. Military casual. About middle age, his hair receded slightly and was died dark black. It was obvious to his fellow agents that he was suckered into way too many infomercials.

    “Jack,” Larry said. “We have a major problem -- predicted by our agency psychic. This one looks reliable.”
    “I haven't had my coffee.”
    “You're gonna have to jump on this one. Looks like there's shadow activity in the mill in New Town. Didn't your ex-wife moved there?”
    “Great. Do you have any good news?”
    Larry paused for a second.
    “Your wife's lawyer called.”

  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt

    Re: Getting Back Into Writing

    There's just one cheap brand for bright red nail polish? Looks like you'll need a lot of work. I'd say shelve writing a novel in a month and do more reading first, followed by more experimenting; maybe a couple short stories first before you try for something bigger.

  3. #3
    Brian W

    Re: Getting Back Into Writing

    Looks like I lost all my indentation in that paste. Sorry.

    Nah. I'll just write out a whole novel. I need to go through the process. It's a totally different mindset from writing short stuff.

  4. #4
    Rogue Mutt

    Re: Getting Back Into Writing

    Nah, your novel will suck. Learn to write first.

  5. #5
    Brian W

    Re: Getting Back Into Writing

    The first novel is supposed to suck. I just want to complete one. I will worry about the second one not sucking as bad.

  6. #6
    Rogue Mutt

    Re: Getting Back Into Writing

    Why do people ask for advice and then deride it? That never makes any sense to me.

  7. #7
    Brian W

    Re: Getting Back Into Writing

    Deride it? You did not provide any feedback. You just wrote "Learn to Write." Well, duh. I have to write a whole novel to learn how the process goes. I cannot just read a book about how to write a novel and call myself an expert.

    Likewise, it's incredibly unrealistic to assume that my first novel will be good. I expect this to just be a learning process. I will worry about the second being good. And after writing that one, I will go back and re-write the first.

    I also have to be realistic for how much I can write in an evening. Right now, I'm writing about 1 thousand words a night. At that pace, there is no way I can turn a novel over in two months. I have to readjust my targets, write more, or tighten up my outline.

    Right now, I am referencing Stephen Minot's "Three Genres," for writing technique. I have just started re-reading it, so I'm rusty. My grammar is also rusty. But I'm not gonna put myself into edit mode trying to complete a perfect chapter. I just want to complete chapters. I can clean up grammar in a second pass.

    And you didn't even tell me what sucked in the little sample I provided from a first draft in progress. I know the indentation is bad due to a bad paste. But you did not provide any real feedback.

    Telling someone their lawn's sucks is useless feedback. Learn to provide good feedback, or I'm just going to ignore your posts.

  8. #8
    Carlotta Dotcom

    Re: Getting Back Into Writing

    Brian, I am new too. Bear in mind that what you post is only a very small part of the entire work. So take criticism w/grain of salt.
    Some comments reflect only the lack of background to the sample.
    I am finding that personalities come through and we each may place more value in one individual's remark than another. Run with those and try to evaluate the others subjectively.
    During tough parts of my novel I sometimes agonized over sentences or paragraphs for hours. I wish I had known about this group then. Generally, technical suggestions are valid and helpful.
    Chris Redd is prolific. No one has a gun to our back to respond to problems we think he should be able to work out himself by now.
    Unwittingly, (perhaps) he sometimes makes me chuckle. Is that so bad?

  9. #9
    Keith .

    Re: Getting Back Into Writing

    My opinion. It's mostly tell and little show. From an excellent writing guide:

    Don't tell me it's raining. Show me how it feels to be rained upon.

    Your setup reads almost like an outline. Very choppy with little flow. You also force a lot of description out at once. Work it in smoothly.

    Keep at it. I read somewhere you have to write a million words to get the hang of it. Most of us here are still working on it. Luck.

  10. #10
    the cat came back

    Re: Getting Back Into Writing

    Go whatever route makes sense to you.

    Learn from the feedback you get, but ignore anyone who tells you that you suck and shouldn't even try.

    That says more about them than it does about you.

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