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Thread: Learn Writing with Uncle Jim, Volume 2

  1. #1726
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    A bit of library time should definitely be in your future.

  2. #1727
    Comic guy Bartholomew's Avatar
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    Yep. I'm thinking Dashiell Hammett and Agatha Christi.

    Bart, woefully ignorant about the mystery genre.
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  3. #1728
    Today is your last day. FOTSGreg's Avatar
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    Look at Dashell Hammett and Ray Chandler. Pay close attention to the way both handle words and scenes. I absolutely adore Chandler's way of describing an otherwise mundane scene with words that make me bolt upright from the visual.

    Find my books on Smashwords at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/fotsgreg
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  4. #1729
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I really like your outline method, and i understand it's meant for really rough drafts, but i usually spend a good many days thinking and rethinking plot before beginning to write (i've been working on multiple projects at once so i always have something to write). Your thoughts?

  5. #1730
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Does it work for you? If so, carry on!

    If it doesn't work for you, find something that works for you.

  6. #1731
    Naked Futon Guy allenparker's Avatar
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    Given the caveats...

    a book written well, unique, interesting and totally awesome, could a book like Roots be written today and be published.

    The book was like 900 pages, contained a story arc based on family suspense.

    Is a book like that viable in this market?
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  7. #1732
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Good writing is always viable.

    Don't reject your own story.

    BTW, in the course of whoring after Hollywood Respectability, I have my first screen credit here: Yellowbrickroad. It's in teeny-tiny type, and it's all the way at the end in the final credits, but it's there.

    How not to get an agent part #58309:


    • Writer leaves briefcase containing manuscript outside agent's door.
    • Agent calls bomb squad.
    • Bomb squad blows up briefcase and manuscript.


    We can only hope the writer kept a backup....
    Last edited by James D. Macdonald; 08-24-2011 at 04:42 AM.

  8. #1733
    It is so ordered. AW Moderator zanzjan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    We can only hope the writer kept a backup....
    Or perhaps not, depending on the MS.

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  9. #1734
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    I know entirely too many authors who spent quite a bit of time and money later in their careers buying up and burning all the available copies of their first published novels.

    The last time I submitted a story cold was the last time I submitted a short story, which would have been in 2007. I don't write short stories very often.

    I wrote it on-line, which you might consider self-publishing (though we put it under a friends-lock at the time). What you can read there is my first draft, unedited by Doyle.

    It sold to the first place we submitted it to, and subsequently was reprinted in a Best Of collection. You can read it in its finished version right now, self-published in a variety of e-publication formats.

    Book sculptures.
    Last edited by James D. Macdonald; 08-24-2011 at 04:43 AM.

  10. #1735
    Comic guy Bartholomew's Avatar
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    I'm in chapter four and chugging along. Just thought I'd share. =)
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  11. #1736
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    A summary of Amazon's war on publishers

    Author's copies of Sense of Wonder arrived today.
    Last edited by James D. Macdonald; 08-24-2011 at 04:43 AM.

  12. #1737
    Now, about those sparkles of mine.. AW Moderator SaraP's Avatar
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    Neat!
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  13. #1738
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    It's close to 1,000 pages of teeny-tiny print. There are authors who are left out. Bradbury, for example.

    There's always a limit in space and time (you can hardly reprint the entire corpus). And in some cases the author, or their estates, either asked fees that far exceeded budget, or never got back in touch at all.

    Doyle and I each have essays in the book (mine on Military SF, Doyle's on Writers' Workshops), and we have a reprinted story.

  14. #1739
    Now, about those sparkles of mine.. AW Moderator SaraP's Avatar
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    Oh, I missed the essays, I only caught the story. Even better, then!
    Lady Sparkles, SparklePony, The SparklePony of DOOOOOM, Sparkles, Sparkles McModderson, The Sparkler, Sparklegee, The Sparkling Portuguee... I think I see a pattern here. Oh, and Horny McPoarny.


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  15. #1740
    Naked Futon Guy allenparker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    BTW, in the course of whoring after Hollywood Respectability, I have my first screen credit here: Yellowbrickroad. It's in teeny-tiny type, and it's all the way at the end in the final credits, but it's there.
    Was this a writing credit? Or did you don the color and flavor of the silver screen?
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  16. #1741
    Naked Futon Guy allenparker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    Good writing is always viable.

    Don't reject your own story.
    This, of course, begins with the supposition that good writing and Allen are relatively good friends, at least meet for coffee.

    Do you think in this climate, at least the one three years from now, that a book of 1000 pages would be better to be split into several 300 page books? Or is this a question to ask after The End?
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  17. #1742
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Ask that question after "The End."

    Then ask if your book can be divided into a trilogy or a series.
    Last edited by James D. Macdonald; 08-24-2011 at 08:26 AM.

  18. #1743
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    From Uncle Jim's Mailbag:

    Dear Uncle Jim: I've just had the most dreadful experience. I finished my novel, and I showed it to some folks who promised a critique. The first one came in, and it was horrible! The guy didn't understand a word I'd said, missed every possible point, criticized things that were right, and offered suggestions that were wrong. Plus he hated the book. What should I say?

    -- Puzzled in Peoria

    Dear Puzzled:

    Say "Thank you very much!" and mean it.

  19. #1744
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    If anyone has some children's books lying around that they don't need:

    A small library in the Adirondacks needs help.

  20. #1745
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    On the prevalence of US tropes in storytelling

    Why is it that violence is the answer to any problem?

  21. #1746
    Today is your last day. FOTSGreg's Avatar
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    Uncle Jim, any problem can be solved by the appropriate application of the appropriate amount of high explosives at the appropriate time in the appropriate location.

    Or so they say.


    Find my books on Smashwords at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/fotsgreg
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  22. #1747
    practical experience, FTW Jake Barnes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    On the prevalence of US tropes in storytelling

    Why is it that violence is the answer to any problem?
    Funny, the French used to be bonkers about violent American genre films -- Hitchcock, film noir, westerns, gangster films. Perhaps a disdain for American films reflects slippage in American influence. Or maybe Aliette needs more roughage in her diet.
    Last edited by Jake Barnes; 09-03-2011 at 03:19 AM.

  23. #1748
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Sir Alfred Hitchcock's last film was in 1976.

    Things change.

  24. #1749
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Fame at last! I'm mentioned (with my name misspelled) at the Great Orange Satan.

    Also mentioned: Ted Sturgeon (who came up with Sturgeon's Law: "90% of everything is crud").

    Also, other amusing history of Novels in America.

  25. #1750
    It is so ordered. AW Moderator zanzjan's Avatar
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    An amusing article (although I'd thought PA's cracks about SF/F writers came after the Atlanta Nights sting?) but the UMass Amherst hoax she leads with never would have worked. For one thing, they'd be unlikely to find anyone with lapels, and even more unlikely to find anyone who'd do much more than point them towards the administration building at the far end of campus. Still, would have been worth seeing the attempt. (-:
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