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For anyone else who wants to start/progress/finish writing a book in 2012

(212 Posts)
BsshBossh Fri 06-Jan-12 10:44:03

Sign in here, whether you are published or not smile Perhaps we can keep each other motivated.

I am a first time writer, never been published, have completed two drafts of my novel and am now working on the third - revising/editing.

How about you?

DedalusDigglesPocketWatch Wed 11-Jan-12 19:51:58

Sorry if this is the wrong place, but can I ask you experienced writers a couple of questions?

I have recently started a blog, I really enjoy it, much more than I ever imagined and think I would like to do some more writing. But how? Where do you start, how do you know if you are any good (i strongly suspect I am not!)

Thanks smile

DedalusDigglesPocketWatch Wed 11-Jan-12 19:53:49

Sorry if this is the wrong place, but can I ask you experienced writers a couple of questions?

I have recently started a blog, I really enjoy it, much more than I ever imagined and think I would like to do some more writing. But how? Where do you start, how do you know if you are any good (i strongly suspect I am not!)

Thanks smile

DedalusDigglesPocketWatch Wed 11-Jan-12 19:56:58

Bugger, sorry grin

wordfactory Wed 11-Jan-12 19:58:23

dedalus I don't think any of us ever know if we're any good. I still hold my breath each time a sub a WIP to my ed.

Anmd even after all this time I still get told x or y doesn't work and z needs some fixing wink.

What would you like to write? A novel? Short stories? A script? I think you need to decide on your media first.

BsshBossh Wed 11-Jan-12 20:00:21

Grendel, great tips from wordfactory. I'm not an experienced writer but I like to write a fake critique of my WIP as if I am a critic: describing what the book is about - plot, subplot, overall theme etc, giving my thoughts on the writing style, situating it in and differentiating it from other writers in the genre... I also like to write a proper 1 paragraph synopsis of the whole novel after the first draft as it often ends up a little different from the synopsis I wrote at the beginning when I wrote the outline.

DedalusDigglesPocketWatch Wed 11-Jan-12 20:01:23

Like another poster, children's adventure, and sort of jilly cooper for teens?

I never said I was an intellectual grin

MmeGuillotine Wed 11-Jan-12 20:59:47

Hello again. My third novel is out next week and I'm working on the fourth and fifth simultaneously, with an agent in the US keeping an eye on me and suggesting revisions and stuff as I write them. I'm really pleased about this as I hate the submitting process but she found me via my blog, liked the sort of thing that I do on there and emailed me to ask to see my work so I missed out all the icky synopsis stuff. smile

I write historical fiction. My first book is about the young Marie Antoinette and the next two are set during the French Revolution. The two that I am working on at the moment are about Charles II's sister, Henrietta 'Minette' Stuart and, for a bit of a change, about the Jack the Ripper murders (I'm a Ripperologist and descended from one of the police men who investigated the original murders back in 1888).

Um, that's it really. Nice to post here again - things got a bit hectic last year when I was finishing off my third book so I wasn't around much. sad

Zoidberg Wed 11-Jan-12 21:08:03

Hi everyone, I am rubbish at returning to threads on a regular basis but I will pop in, I lurked on last year's thread grin

I had my first short story published last year and have a flash piece coming out in a magazine sometime this year. I want to continue writing short stories and entering competitions.

I also wrote a zero draft of a novel in NaNoWriMo and will revisit that some time after it's "cooked" for a bit, see if I can actually take it somewhere. It needs a lot of research (1950s London and contemporary archaeology are in there, both things I know nothing about) so am unsure if I will ever properly complete it, but I think it good for me to rewrite a few times for the experience of writing a novel.

I write on the train to work 3 days a week but am soon to have 6 months off to spend more time with DD so will have a bit less time, the odd day and will try evenings.

Booboostoo Wed 11-Jan-12 21:19:18

Does it have to be a novel? Couldn't it be a boring academic book instead?

If I qualify with a boring academic book then I am on the last chapter, six months delayed due to pregnancy/baby and I can't wait to finish! This last push just feels like the most difficult for some reason but I musn't give up now, I'll never pick it up again.

BsshBossh Wed 11-Jan-12 22:26:09

Welcome everyone!

Boo, an academic book most certainly counts. In a former life I was a lecturer and had papers and a book published.

wordfactory Thu 12-Jan-12 08:24:22

Oh boring academic books certainly count...actually they take more work no? You can't simply make stuff up when ypu're stuck.

I've been offered a PT post as a lecturer in CW and I think one of the ideas behind that is that I will also write a book to help students and writers.

Novelist Thu 12-Jan-12 09:56:23

1) is this your first novel?

It will be my eleventh published novel. Am not going to reveal what number I'm up to if I count the unpublished ones. Would be like asking me my weight and age!

2) what is your preferred genre?

I started out in women's fiction (chick-lit, really) and now mostly write Young Adult. This ms is New Adult (more Twilight-aged).

3) what genre is your current project

New Adult (so, YA with sex, drugs and not rock n roll as it's set in the 1920s, so YA with sex, drugs and flappers).

4) can you give us a brief plot synopsis (25 words or less?)

Triplets, estranged since birth, are suddenly brought together and forced to compete for their inheritance.

5)when and where do you write

I finally (finally!) have both my kids at school, so I work on school days. And in the evenings. And on the weekends. And pretty much all the time. We're living in the UK for only 18 months, so our living set up isn't ideal -- I have to work in the living room/dining room table at the moment, but usually have a dedicated study.

6) any useful tips or advice?

I was nodding along to everything wordfactory said. I am a firm believer in plotting and strongly think that every writer could get a lot out of learning about three act structure and also about screenwriting (screenwriting has a lot of awesome techniques that also work when writing novels). It's fine if you don't want to plot later on, but you need to learn the rules so you can break them! ends rant

Grendel, a book that really helped me in revising my first few mss was Self-Editing for Fiction Writers (I think it is Rennie & King?). Really great advice. I also think it really helps to go back through the ms and ask yourself why each scene has been included -- are you moving the plot forwards? As for dialogue, reading onto a digital recorder and listening back is great. Really helps to get rid of stilted bits and pieces when you are starting out. I also think ms assessments can be a big help, but only if you can afford them and you need to find someone who is very experienced and used to reading/assessing in the area. I sometimes still use freelance editors to look over my work before I send to my agent/publisher. In the current market, you really need to be sending in your A game.

Dedalus, I guess the best thing to ask yourself would be what could you see yourself writing? What do you like to read (usually this is a good indication of what you might enjoy writing). Sadly, you never think you're any good, or most writers I know don't think they are! I'm waiting on some revision notes now and am wetting myself -- you always expect to get something that says, 'This is absolute #$%*. What were you thinking?!'

ChickensGoMeh Thu 12-Jan-12 10:03:06

Howdy. I'm 25000 words in to my first attempt at getting this bloody story out of my head. It's going...okish. Now, can anyone tell me how to get detailed advice on how one would knacker a car's brakes without being looked at like a potential murderer? Because that tweet did not yield results.

DedalusDigglesPocketWatch Thu 12-Jan-12 11:13:11

Thank you all for advice. What do you use for writing, computer wise?

MmeGuillotine Thu 12-Jan-12 11:38:20

I've started using Scrivener - I hated it at first but really like it now as it seems to be keeping me organised. smile

wordfactory Thu 12-Jan-12 11:52:08

novelist dp you ever get bored?

I must admit that I do. I have started branching out a little - radio plays and I love it.

Novelist Thu 12-Jan-12 12:19:46

wordfactory I don't get bored in the sense that I'm always writing the same thing, as I'm having to learn to write in serialised format for this e-serial and have other projects on the side (travel memoir, also a book out in Feb so doing few interviews etc. for that), but the writing itself -- I'm having to pump out a lot of words at the moment. Is always a case of would rather red hot pokers!

I do try to remind myself a lot how lucky I am to still be published at this point, though. It is really tough out there right now. Everything is in such a state of flux.

MmeG I started using Scrivener too and do like it, but gave up!

Chickens know how you feel. Did a lot of research this morning about flappers and bicycles and came up with not very much. God bless YouTube, though. How did writers survive before the internet?

NewPatchesForOld Thu 12-Jan-12 13:49:31

1) This is my first novel
2) Preferred genre is chick lit/women's fiction
3) My novel is as above
4) No synopsis as yet
5) I have a large bedroom, so one side of it is for sleeping, and I have the other side curtained off with voile curtains. This is my writing space, large desk, laptop, books and loads of fairy lights and candles. Very girly.
6) I have NO advice as I have only just started, apart from have notebooks everywhere as you never know when you might hear/think a great line/situation.

I've always had this ambition to write a book. I have had poetry published but never fiction and that's where my passion lies. I always write with humour, always...I can't help it as humour is what has got me through some very dark times. So I promised myself that this year I would do it. So I have just come back from people watching in costa whilst writing notes in one of my many notebooks and tonight I shall start.

Good luck everyone.

Kayano Thu 12-Jan-12 14:42:35

I am starting to write right now blush

Scared. Just writing out my plan today. I have 2 plot ideas in my head so will work today and probably post on here later to ask for advice.

Booboostoo Thu 12-Jan-12 15:24:58

wordfactory I think boring academic book take a lot of hard graft, but proper novels take hard graft and talent! No substitute for talent unfortunately otherwise I would love to be able to write a proper book!

BsshBossh Thu 12-Jan-12 18:20:32

Dedalus I use Word.

wordfactory Fri 13-Jan-12 10:32:27

Yesterday I began writing The New Book.

I wrote the opener (a news report) and the first scene.
Around 1000 words.

Novelist Fri 13-Jan-12 13:26:46

Everyone get the writing done that they were hoping to?

Have you got a big plan already worked out, wordfactory? When do you need to finish by?

8,400 words for me this week. My eyes hurt. Was hoping to get to 9000, but not sure I can be fagged, actually. Going away for the weekend, so will be nice not to think about it for a while!

BsshBossh Fri 13-Jan-12 19:13:31

Re-read the entire 2nd draft this week, making notes. I'm really happy with the plot lines and characerisation but it's clear the writing needs polishing so that's my focus from next week. A chapter at a time, sentence by sentence.

minitoot Fri 13-Jan-12 19:29:09

Grendel's mum, I would suggest that before you revise you first put your novel away in a bottom drawer somewhere for a couple of months. Try and forget about it, and in the meantime write something else, just for fun if you don't feel you have another idea you want to commit to. At the end of that time, get out your novel and re-read it, pretending that you didn't write it - that this is a random novel you picked up in a shop or library. Have a highlighter with you and mark places where it gets boring, but don't write any detailed comments and don't try to stop and work out why it's boring. Just read and highlight. At the end, go back and look through the novel and think about why the bits you highlighted bored you, and then address those problems.
There are different ways of doing this, but the general point is: time away from the novel is time well spent. You need to be able to come to it with fresh eyes.

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