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Boarders Writing a Novel, Draft 7


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#281 TrackerNeil

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 12:07 PM

To use ASOIAF as an example (since everyone here has probably read it), one of my favorite chapters is what I believe to be Jaime's first in AFfC, when he's standing vigil over Tywin. Not a ton of stuff really happens in real time for that chapter, but you get an enormous amount of backstory and character development, while also having a general recurring "theme" (that's not really the right word for what I mean) of parenthood. At least that's how I remember reading it, I may be a little off in the details, but it always stuck out to me as one of the better-written parts of the series.


Agreed and agreed! To me, that chapter works so well because it does both of what every chapter should do: move the story forward or tell you something about the characters. (I think that's also true of episodes in a TV series, but this is the lit thread so I will hold off going any further into that.)

#282 Roose Boltons Pet Leech

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 07:19 AM

Have largely finished with the polishing to the most recent draft (time to get started on query letters, I think).

One thing I noticed during my final edit: I have a bad habit of overusing 'as' (52 usages in a 7000 word chapter). Anyone else have tic words they have to go back and consciously purge?

#283 Eloisa

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 08:44 AM

One thing I noticed during my final edit: I have a bad habit of overusing 'as' (52 usages in a 7000 word chapter). Anyone else have tic words they have to go back and consciously purge?

"The". Also I tend to get stuck using the same sentence and paragraph structure for page after page and hence overuse certain punctuation marks at times. It's one of the things I change in edits to make the structure more varied (except where I want a rhythmic effect).

#284 Francis Buck

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:18 PM

I have tons of those. And usually new ones crop up every time I start a new project. For a while I was on a "produce" kick, as in, "Barry produced a lighter from his jacket", or something. I also tend to overuse the word "strange", especially when I'm in draft-writing mode, like just trying to get as many words down as possible and keep moving forward without looking back. It's annoying because it's a really weak word for description, but it always just comes out. I have a million other ones too. That's actually a big thing I always ask people to take note of when they're critiquing a draft of mine, because it's one of those things that can be really hard to pick up on yourself, but will instantly jump out to someone else.

#285 Eugene V. Debspalm

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 02:01 PM

The last thingie has people constantly "suddenly realizing" things, which is terrible.

#286 Timzy

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 02:05 PM

Hey guys, I'm hoping to start writing my own fantasy novels soon but I am having problems coming up with names for my characters. Anybody have any tips on how to come up with decent names that don't sound too overboard.

Thanks in advance.


Bastardize names form history or mythology is always my go to device.

/smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

#287 Starkess

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 04:18 AM

Feeling really good about my current WIP. Trying to write as much as I can but also not get too down on myself about not writing. It's not a race and it's not the end of the world if it takes me a couple extra months to finish this baby. Anyway, I'm about 30k into it now. I think the book will have three major sections, and the first one is just finished. If it clocks in around 90k, I'll be happy. It will make it my longest ms yet and I think a decent length to start with for drafting and shopping.

Had a bit of a stall as I prepare to write the second section. Realized I needed to bring in another POV, which was a whole new major character that previously did not exist. Not the type of thing I usually do--I'm such an obsessive outliner--but I think needed in this case. The first section switches between 2 POV characters in 2 different timelines. The end of the first section is also the end of 1 of the POV characters. I realized I really didn't want to suddenly switch to having only 1 POV character for the middle section (the other POV will return in the third section). Plus it would make it hard to work in some of the plot. So now I have a new character! Section 1 will now have A and B POVs, section 2 will have A and C, and section 3 will have A, B, and C. Which I think will work really well. Just need to make sure I have enough plot/story/action to sustain the C POV character!

#288 Juba

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:19 AM

Longtime lurker here--I'm graduating from Stonecoast MFA this January, and one of the 'perks' is that we get to meet with a literary agent. Anyway, I wasn't planning on getting into the query/agent thing until my novel-in-progress was completed (hopefully this Spring), but I thought it might be good practice. Could you guys recommend some sites/resources that deal with queries? Thanks in advance.

#289 Frey Pie

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:16 AM

Didnt know there was a thread like this! Had no work during the summer, so began writing a book that id been planning for the last 5-6years in my head. Did about 45000 words and would love to go back to it but no time. Its amazing though-somedays i could write 5000 words and others none. I know where i want the plot to go though and already have all the main parts planned. It seems as i write though more unplanned stuff creeps in. Its like the story outside my plan has to be told.

Nothing professional, just a hobby that hopefully someday i can turn into something more.

#290 Reposado

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:42 AM

Longtime lurker here--I'm graduating from Stonecoast MFA this January, and one of the 'perks' is that we get to meet with a literary agent. Anyway, I wasn't planning on getting into the query/agent thing until my novel-in-progress was completed (hopefully this Spring), but I thought it might be good practice. Could you guys recommend some sites/resources that deal with queries? Thanks in advance.


some posted this when i asked the same question a few months back

http://querytracker.net/

a ton there

#291 Juba

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:09 PM

Thanks, Lanza.

#292 Roose Boltons Pet Leech

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 09:22 PM

Ran across this amusing 'which famous author do you resemble' analyzer:

http://iwl.me/

My first five chapters have given me H.P. Lovecraft, Neil Gaiman, Dan Brown, George Orwell, and H.P. Lovecraft.

#293 TrackerNeil

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 09:24 PM

One thing I noticed during my final edit: I have a bad habit of overusing 'as' (52 usages in a 7000 word chapter). Anyone else have tic words they have to go back and consciously purge?


Yes. I have this thing for semi-colons, and I use them an awful lot. Correctly, yes, but annoyingly often. A reviewer pointed it out, too. Eeep.

#294 Starkess

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 09:26 PM

Semi-colons are the bomb. I love them, but I have to consciously limit myself from using them too frequently. And em-dashes. I am having a torrid, decade-long affair with em-dashes. I usually limit myself to once a paragraph, but sometimes I have to bend that a little bit...

ETA: I've run across that writing analyzer before. Used it on my current WIP and got Gertrude Stein. Never read her stuff so no clue what to think of that! (I ran all 6 complete chapters and got 3 Gertrude Stein, 2 J.D. Salinger, and 1 David Foster Wallace. Not read any of them...)

Edited by Starkess, 11 December 2012 - 09:30 PM.


#295 Myrddin

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:44 AM

I've done this before, but it's always fun. /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

Prologue = Dan Brown
Chapter 1 = Ursula Le Guin
Chapter 2 = David Foster Wallace
Chapter 3 = Neil Gaiman (which is funny, since the POV shifts to a 12 year old girl here /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' /> )
Chapter 4 = JRR Tolkien
Chapter 5 = Ray Bradbury

Either it's a random generator* or my writing is very schizophrenic.


*If random, I remember the prologue getting tagged with Dan Brown the last time I did this.

ETA: Ok, I Googled to find what was behind the site's algorithm and found an interview with the programmer.

Actually, the algorithm is not a rocket science, and you can find it on every computer today. It's a Bayesian classifier, which is widely used to fight spam on the Internet. Take for example the "Mark as spam" button in Gmail or Outlook. When you receive a message that you think is spam, you click this button, and the internal database gets trained to recognize future messages similar to this one as spam. This is basically how "I Write Like" works on my side: I feed it with "Frankenstein" and tell it, "This is Mary Shelley. Recognize works similar to this as Mary Shelley." Of course, the algorithm is slightly different from the one used to detect spam, because it takes into account more stylistic features of the text, such as the number of words in sentences, the number of commas, semicolons, and whether the sentence is a direct speech or a quotation.


So it just compares the pasted text against a database to look for similar sentence structure.

Apparently, Margaret Atwood writes like Stephen King. /wink.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' />

Edited by Myrddin, 12 December 2012 - 09:58 AM.


#296 Noroldis

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 10:21 AM

Hey guys, I'm hoping to start writing my own fantasy novels soon but I am having problems coming up with names for my characters. Anybody have any tips on how to come up with decent names that don't sound too overboard.

Thanks in advance.


I don't know if it's too late to answer this, but there's a lot of free fantasy name generators on the Net. If the names they produce aren't quite to your liking, you can always tweak them so they'll fit your setting. Here are links to a few generators:

Fantasy Name Generator
http://www.rinkworks.com/namegen/

Random RPG Name Generator
http://www.rpgattitu...-generator.html

donjon; Name Generator
http://donjon.bin.sh...e/#english_male

Edited by Noroldis, 12 December 2012 - 10:21 AM.


#297 Sophelia

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 03:01 PM

Ran across this amusing 'which famous author do you resemble' analyzer:

http://iwl.me/

My first five chapters have given me H.P. Lovecraft, Neil Gaiman, Dan Brown, George Orwell, and H.P. Lovecraft.

Exellent! The mind boggles as to what the plot of that book would be like... /ohmy.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':o' />

I put my first chapter in and got James Joyce. Had a smug moment... then wondered if it meant my writing is incomprehensible /tongue.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':P' />

#298 Callandoril

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 05:25 PM

I got Stephenie Meyer on my first chapter... Damn it I'm not writing twilight and now I'm sure this isn't my last version for this chapter...

#299 Roose Boltons Pet Leech

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 07:24 PM

Exellent! The mind boggles as to what the plot of that book would be like... /ohmy.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':o' />


Clearly Cthulhu and Dream team up to solve the mystery of Big Brother's secret descendant, only to end up being driven to insanity.

#300 Derfel Cadarn

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:24 PM

I'm still only just over 30000 words into my crime/supernatural novel, about a 3rd. It's my nano and I've not touched it since the end of November due to catching up on other stuff. Also been working out the rest of the plot, working out how the rest of it goes.