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Thread: A Thread About Writing

  1. #11
    Chiseler Dragonbat's Avatar
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    Re: A Thread About Writing

    When in doubt, research the heck out of everything. An editor is not necessarily going to be a fact-checker. Don't forget that the people reading your story may actually be working in the field your character is, and they will notice errors. If you have friends/contacts working in relevant areas, don't be afraid to ask for assistance! And remember, it's a lot easier to correct a research-fail before you've used the erroneous info as a foundation for your major subplot.

    Full disclosure: I'm not a professional writer, but I've taken 4 editing classes (Substantive, Line, Copy, and Technical), one just last fall, and I've just landed my first paid editing assignment, go me!
    Last edited by Dragonbat; 02-07-2012 at 12:42 PM.

  2. #12
    Right Guy Infra-Man's Avatar
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    Re: A Thread About Writing

    Trade work with other writers so you can develop your skills as a close reader. It helps you identify problems you may not have recognized, and sometimes articulating what works and doesn't work in someone else's writing helps illuminate or crystallize your own concerns about your own writing.

    Read aloud when editing your own work.

    Don't be afraid to let a draft suck.

    Get used to rejection and failure.
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  3. #13
    Gunsel Chris Jones's Avatar
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    Re: A Thread About Writing

    A lot of people find that when they run low on inspiration or get writer's block, it helps to start writing something else, or go take a walk, or watch a movie, or something like that. I find the exact opposite to be true: If I bring up a Word document and start writing, I'm not leaving until I've gotten something I'm happy with on the page. If I do something else I get distracted, stop caring. Sometimes I have to stare at a blank white sheet for 45 minutes without even moving my hands but SOMETHING is going on that damn page and it's going to be something I can be proud of. I have issues with discipline, so this sort of helps reign me in.

    Also, I consider every piece of entertainment and art I ingest to be vital data. No joke, I consider reading, listening to music and watching movies to be getting work done. Everything's useful.


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  4. #14
    Gunsel BClayMoore's Avatar
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    Re: A Thread About Writing

    Research is great, but the key is to be able to fake it well enough to convince people you did the research.

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  5. #15

    Re: A Thread About Writing

    That's one of the traps I fell into working on one of my story ideas. The main character is this pre-Dynastic Egyptian immortal and, to figure out where she would have traveled in the world, I ran up a timeline of Egypt (by Pharaoh), marked the invasions and then started running links to what else might be interesting along those lines. Unlike every other wandering immortal book I've ever read, she's never been to Japan. Spent some time in India, China and Mongolia but never Japan.

  6. #16
    Gunsel Kingsmythe's Avatar
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    Re: A Thread About Writing

    Get someone who you trust to go over your work. Their goal should not be to say "Oh, this is good." This needs to be someone who will offer detailed critique on everything from typos and misspellings/wrong word choice to ideas that don't work out or mistakes you've made, be they facts that are wrong or times you contradict yourself.
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  7. #17
    Right Guy sunbird's Avatar
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    Re: A Thread About Writing

    Always remember that what works for one person may not work for you. I know people that thrive in the mad cap Nanowrimo speed novelling style of writing. I know people that can't do that at all. Beyond working at writing hard, try all different kinds of things to see what works best for you.

  8. #18
    Right Guy Infra-Man's Avatar
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    Re: A Thread About Writing

    Sort of an open question for everyone: did you mimic any particular writers when you were starting out, and are there people who you find yourself mimicking now?

    Quote Originally Posted by BClayMoore View Post
    Research is great, but the key is to be able to fake it well enough to convince people you did the research.

    -BCM
    That's why writers like Jorge Luis Borges and W. G. Sebald are awesome. They've got this way of making invented things sound true.
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  9. #19
    Gunsel Chris Jones's Avatar
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    Re: A Thread About Writing

    ^My prose writing is kind of a mix of Larry McMurtry, C.S. Lewis and Yukio Mishima(not like I'm remotely as good as any of them). So kind of a conversational vibe with classicist whimsy? God, that sounds pretentious.


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  10. #20
    Hard Boiled stevapalooza's Avatar
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    Re: A Thread About Writing

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonbat View Post
    When in doubt, research the heck out of everything. An editor is not necessarily going to be a fact-checker. Don't forget that the people reading your story may actually be working in the field your character is, and they will notice errors. If you have friends/contacts working in relevant areas, don't be afraid to ask for assistance! And remember, it's a lot easier to correct a research-fail before you've used the erroneous info as a foundation for your major subplot.
    I'll second this and go you one further--make research part of the creative process. Instead of treating it like homework, really dive into your subject. Chances are you'll come up with a bunch of ideas you might never have considered otherwise. Whenever people talk about how important reading is to a writer's development, we always assume that means reading fiction. But reading non-fiction and doing research can add just as many muscles to your imagination.

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