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Any tips for an aspiring writer?


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59 replies to this topic

#1 Ulthosian Stark

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 08:19 PM

Well, figured I'd throw this up to see if I get any useful info, I'm in the process of writing 2 books right now. One is a real-world based third party (my own, since I never got on the stuff) perspective on my friends, family and randoms prescription pill addiction, all names and places will be altered to protect identities. The other is the start fantasy series I've been thinking about since middle school, central themes will be climate change, greed, drugs (which ones are legal and socially accepted, vs ones which are not but maybe should be), and power struggles. Totally going to be a "fantasy for adults" lol. Asoiaf has convinced me to do a feudal system and POV style of writing.

I'm not expecting to make a bunch of money or anything, the 1st book about the pill addictions I want to be a warning to the masses and especially the young about those dangerous drugs. The fantasy series, well, I've always wanted to create my own universe.

My reading level has always been a bit high for my age. In 5th grade I read the Hobbit for the first time, while most kids were still on Goosebumps ?I'd finish one of those in a day or 2). By 7th grade I read pretty much EVERYTHING having to do with LOTR (children of hurin, silmarillion, lost tales etc) moved on to Eragon (which I thought was childish from the start), then Dune, then HP Lovecraft, then 1421 The Year China discovered America, got on the ASOIAF train in high school etc. Read plenty of random books in between but those are the ones that have influenced me the most. Figured that info might be helpful to the objective of the thread.

Oh and Harry Potter series can be added to that list, although its not a series that overtly influenced me like LOTR, the effect it had on society did (religious zealots burning the books in particular)

Edited by Ulthosian Stark, 27 July 2014 - 08:25 PM.


#2 Darth Richard II

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 08:48 PM

Well, considering 1421 The Year China discovered America is a giant fraud, just do the opposite of what that guy does.



#3 Ulthosian Stark

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 11:21 PM

Is it supposed to be fact? I thought it was just a theory/work of fiction the whole time, not presented as fact, so no fraud I see lol. Either way its a good read IMO

#4 JonCon's Red Beard

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 11:27 PM

Read everything you can

Write everything you want

Accept criticism. Good and bad.

 

That's the only way, imo.



#5 DanielAbraham

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 11:53 PM

Finish them. Hardest thing there is to do is not fiddle around on a project forever.  Do the best you can, finish them, then start something else while you try to sell them. 

 

Also, read a lot.  And when you find someone you really like, retype a few pages of their stuff.  It lets you see how they used language in ways that you don't notice when you're reading for pleasure.



#6 Roose Boltons Pet Leech

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 04:02 AM

We've got a thread for writers, currently in its eleventh incarnation:

 

http://asoiaf.wester...-novel-part-11/

 

Anyway:

 

1. In your first draft, quantity is more important than quality. Just get it down on paper. Doesn't matter how crap it is, just get it down on paper.

 

2. Second draft, concentrate on making the plot coherent, and add any ideas you had while writing the first draft.

 

3. Third draft and after: concentrate on polishing up the language, trimming excessive adjectives and adverbs and so on.

 

4. Get some feedback once you have polished it as much as you can.

 

5. Rewrite based off feedback.



#7 Arkash

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 05:37 AM

^ This.

 

I'd also add, stick to it... may sound silly, but I know I often feel the discouragement that no one will ever read and enjoy my stories but you have to stick to it, love your characters, fight to keep them alive in your mind.

 

This discouragement sometimes brought me to months of non-writing and getting back to it after such a time lapse wasnt easy at first but really quickly, the passion returns. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is dont let the discouragement get you. If you love writing, write, even if it's just for yourself and maybe one day others will enjoy your story.

 

For the first draft, unless you have already a precise image of where you want to go, I just advise you to write characters that feel right to your mind, situations that you want to write about and slowly, the grander scheme will come to your mind. I know that when I wrote the first 70 pages (approximatively) of my book, I didnt really know where I was going, and later on, after finishing the 600 pages that it is now, I went back and reworked a lot of these 70 pages (I think I kept only 30 of them identic to the first draft).

 

Anyway, write, read and love your characters.



#8 sologdin

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 05:59 AM

decide what order to publish your books. ensure that the reading order is different than the publishing order.

#9 larry's loose pajamas

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 06:52 AM

Finish them. Hardest thing there is to do is not fiddle around on a project forever.  Do the best you can, finish them, then start something else while you try to sell them. 
 
Also, read a lot.  And when you find someone you really like, retype a few pages of their stuff.  It lets you see how they used language in ways that you don't notice when you're reading for pleasure.


I think Hunter Thompson claimed to have typed out the entirety of the Great Gatsby to get a feel for the rhythm of it. DA's suggestion sounds more reasonable and less likely to involve drugs.

#10 Howdyphillip

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 12:28 PM

Damn it Solo! Can you be held liable for the coffee that just spewed out of my mouth and nose that landed all over my keyboard and monitor? I'll hire you to litigate, so in the end, you can keep 25% of your money.



#11 Ulthosian Stark

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 09:14 PM

^ This.
 
I'd also add, stick to it... may sound silly, but I know I often feel the discouragement that no one will ever read and enjoy my stories but you have to stick to it, love your characters, fight to keep them alive in your mind.
 
This discouragement sometimes brought me to months of non-writing and getting back to it after such a time lapse wasnt easy at first but really quickly, the passion returns. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is dont let the discouragement get you. If you love writing, write, even if it's just for yourself and maybe one day others will enjoy your story.
 
For the first draft, unless you have already a precise image of where you want to go, I just advise you to write characters that feel right to your mind, situations that you want to write about and slowly, the grander scheme will come to your mind. I know that when I wrote the first 70 pages (approximatively) of my book, I didnt really know where I was going, and later on, after finishing the 600 pages that it is now, I went back and reworked a lot of these 70 pages (I think I kept only 30 of them identic to the first draft).
 
Anyway, write, read and love your characters.

Thanks for the tips everyone! Oh I know how the discouragement feels, that's why its taken me since middle school to ball up and get it going from just thoughts to paper.

So would it be a bad idea to build the world the characters inhabit first or build the characters themselves first? That was my first thought, create the world first then the actual story to go along with it

I think Hunter Thompson claimed to have typed out the entirety of the Great Gatsby to get a feel for the rhythm of it. DA's suggestion sounds more reasonable and less likely to involve drugs.


That's awesome, I'm a HUGE HST fan. I've literally read everything he has published.

#12 Arthmail

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 11:50 PM

World building can be a trap. It can seem easier to focus on history and geography than writing. Writing is a craft. It takes work and patience and endless amounts of time.
You can have the coolest idea but if you don't know how to write it won't mean shit. And learning to write takes time. Years. I wrote my first full book at 18. I'm only now considering publishing at 35. Because I focused on world's and neat ideas. But the very basic truth is that stories and people are universal. You need to find the honesty as well as the means in which to showcase it. I made a huge breakthrough when I sat down and read GRRM not for pleasure, but to deconstruct his talent.
DA and his recommendation is the best advice I've ever heard. I wish I had learned that one years ago.

Edited by Arthmail, 29 July 2014 - 11:51 PM.


#13 Frank Fitzpatrick

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 01:12 AM

Your first draft of your first finished manuscript will probably be a mess, so expect it. Don't get downbeat if it doesn't turnout how you intended. Allow for growth. Drafting is your friend. Keeping writing regardless of whatever others think or say.



#14 Arkash

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 03:23 AM

So would it be a bad idea to build the world the characters inhabit first or build the characters themselves first? That was my first thought, create the world first then the actual story to go along with it

 
Write characters first, write those who come naturally to your mind, put them in situation you want to write about, and then the world will come to you.
 
Actually, personally and I dont know if it's a good thing, first thing I do when I start writing a (fantasy) story is drawing a map, I just let if flow from my pen and create places, mountains, forests, lakes and rivers and then I place the characters here or there on that map.


#15 Roose Boltons Pet Leech

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 04:05 AM

I think you have three basic elements of the story: character, plot, and setting.

 

Pick two out of three.

 

If you have character and plot sorted, a setting will suggest itself.

If you have plot and setting, the characters will suggest themselves.

If you have character and setting, a plot will suggest itself.

 

Just remember, be flexible. All that matters with your first draft is getting it down. One thing you will notice though is that your characters will start to take on lives of their own independent of your intent, which is as rewarding as it is strange.



#16 Roose Boltons Pet Leech

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 04:10 AM

Actually, personally and I dont know if it's a good thing, first thing I do when I start writing a (fantasy) story is drawing a map, I just let if flow from my pen and create places, mountains, forests, lakes and rivers and then I place the characters here or there on that map.

 

Tolkien always started with a map too (unless he was starting with the language...). Easier to fit the story to the map than the map to the story. Unless you dispense with maps altogether, which is perfectly legitimate.



#17 Arkash

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 07:20 PM

 If you have character and setting, a plot will suggest itself.

 
Usually, that's how I work.


#18 Andrew Gilfellon

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 08:21 AM

Take praise from your friends and family with a pinch of salt. They may be kind out of love not honesty.



#19 sologdin

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 08:52 AM

bad idea to build the world the characters inhabit first

 

see, you came in here with just the tip, just for a second, and now you want the whole thing.



#20 Weeping Sore

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 09:05 AM

Read Stephen King's On Writing.