The AW Amazon Store
Buy Books by AWers!

 

Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Page 101 of 398 FirstFirst ... 265176919596979899100101102103104105106107111126151176201351 ... LastLast
Results 2,501 to 2,525 of 9948

Thread: Learn Writing with Uncle Jim, Volume 1

  1. #2501
    drgnlvrljh
    Guest

    Re: Another way of looking at The Summons:

    *THUD* x.X I made it all the way through the thread!

    And I came up with a question, that I didn't see a category for elsewhere (Of course, I coulda missed it, too).

    How do you deal with taxes, if your book is bought? I'm assuming you have to pay your own, but do you pay to the state the publisher is in? The state you're in? Both? And what would be a good rule of thumb for holding out on taxes to be paid? Something like 33% be safe?

  2. #2502
    Risseybug
    Guest

    Re: Pressing matters

    I've been an "independent contractor" for other things, not writing, but I'll help you out as best I can.

    You pay income tax to the federal government and the state you live in. You only have to file if you make over $600. If you don't make that much, your publisher is not even required to send you a form telling you how much you made. Now, if you do make over that, the publisher will send you a 1099-Misc. form, since technically you don't work for them, you are in independent contractor who did work and got paid.

    Now, if you sell a bunch of articles, save your paystubs, b/c it will be up to you to keep track of how much you make writing. Again, if it's not over $600, don't bother to file.

  3. #2503
    maestrowork
    Guest

    Re: Pressing matters

    He glanced at the ceiling and paused, as if wondering if he could trust her.
    I tend to dislike this kind of narrative inference from the POV character. It's by no means "wrong"; it's just my preference. To me, it's as if the author doesn't trust herself (that she couldn't make it apparent simply by action or dialogue) or the readers (that they couldn't figure it out), that she's taking the experience away from the readers. I dislike it when the author tries to explain everything, for fear that the readers won't "get it."

    Think about the movies. When an actor emotes and makes an expression ("glanced at the ceiling and paused"), you don't hear a V.O. saying "he didn't trust her." The material, scene, action, dialogue, etc. all together are supposed to convey that. The typical "show vs. tell" issue here. I'd rather see this:

    He glanced at the ceiling and paused.
    "It's not about trust," she said. He glanced away and cleared his throat.

  4. #2504
    maestrowork
    Guest

    Re: Pressing matters

    Taxes. I suppose you mean income taxes. Like Rissey said, you pay Fed and State where you live (in states like Florida or Texas, you pay no State taxes). The only exception is (and many people don't know this -- I didn't at first), if you work/live away from your home state for more than a defined period at a time (I think it's either 30 or 90 days... I have to check), you need to file State taxes of that state. Let's say you're a filmmaker, and you've worked/lived in Arizona for 3 months shooting a movie, and your home state is California, you need to file for Arizona state taxes. You will get a credit OFF your California taxes.

    Again, if it's not over $600, don't bother to file.
    Hmmm... I believe if you're required to file a return at all (total income -- including writing, day job, etc. -- over a certain limit), you will have to report that earning anyway.

  5. #2505
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: Another way of looking at The Summons:

    How do you deal with taxes, if your book is bought?

    Schedule C, with quarterly estimated taxes.

    Quicken plus TurboTax.

  6. #2506
    Risseybug
    Guest

    Re: Pressing matters

    Well, that's what I mean, you need to file if your total income is over $600. But if you don't receive over that amount from any one source, it is up to you to add it up and report it. You won't get a 1099 from anyone who doesn't pay you that amount. At least, they're not required to send it.

    I hate schedule C. Jim, how in the world do you estimate what you will make in that quarter?

  7. #2507
    drgnlvrljh
    Guest

    Re: Pressing matters

    Thanks so much for the info, everyone.

    And that is a good question. How do you "estimate" taxes?

    Okay, maybe I'm treading somewhere that would require going to H&R Block, or something. Just tell me to hush, and I'll skulk back under my couch

  8. #2508
    maestrowork
    Guest

    Re: Pressing matters

    From my experience, you "estimate" your quarterly taxes by looking at your last year's return. Take 90% of your last year's taxes, divide by 4, and that's your quarterly estimate this year. However, if your situation has changed (say, you had a full time job last year but this year, you're on 1099 only), then you should probably do a best guess.

    You only get into trouble when your quarterly taxes fall far short of your actual year-end tax liability.

    But don't take my words for it. Consult a CPA.

  9. #2509
    jeffspock
    Guest

    Re: Midlist book report

    Thanks for the link, Jim. It was interesting reading, and the mix of conclusions was at once heartening and depressing. To whit:
    - More midlist books are getting published (your chances are as good as always)
    - They are selling fewer copies (chances to be published, that is; not chances to make money)
    - The death of the independent bookstore and general evolutions in retail concentration are widening the gap between the few big titles that do well and the mass of titles that sink without a trace.

    Definitely worth perusing.

    For those of you who don't want to slog through the whole thing, at least check out the conclusions on page 7.


  10. #2510
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: Midlist book report

    For those of you who don't want to slog through the whole thing, at least check out the conclusions on page 7.

    Nevertheless, for those who are doing this "writing" thing as something more than a hobby, it's worth your while to read the entire report, and other reports, and everything else you can get your hands on, to try to understand the business.

    No one source contains all of the truth. The many, combined with your own observations and experience, can approach it.

  11. #2511
    Vulpes Sapien
    Guest

    Re: I caught up!

    Wow. I've been reading through this thread for over a week, and I've finally read the last post. I feel so excited!

    I have learned a lot. For one thing, I've gone through and made every "and then" justify its existence.

    I will add my agreement to those who were baffled or bored by the beginning of The Summons. It would never have occured to me that the painting was of a KKK man, nor would it have placed him in the South in my mind. I live in Canada, so references like that go right over my head - shouldn't an experienced author like Grisham realize that he writes for an international audience?

    How much detail do all of you go into for character sketches and how in the world do you come up with the information? For example, character sketches that ask me what sort of childhood my character had, or what his favourite colour is. Am I supposed to just pick things out of a hat?

    For instance, I have eight characters (not sure what to call them - main characters? The people you'll see throughout the story) and I have no idea about their height/weight/hair colour, except that one guy is black. I played around with name generators until I found combinations that I liked, although I changed some spellings. Is there anything similiar that can help me come up up with basic characters - after which I can change, add and prune to make my character fit the story?

    Or am I asking a really stupid question?

  12. #2512
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: I caught up!

    I have no idea about their height/weight/hair colour, except that one guy is black.

    Then don't say anything about their height/weight/hair color. If it isn't important to the story, let the reader fill in something that's meaningful to him.

    If, in the course of writing the story, you learn that one of the characters has to be a 300 pound blond guy, and another has to be under five foot tall and a redhead, well, that's great (I use filecards to record this stuff as I'm writing). In the second draft you go back and put in the descriptions when the characters are introduced.

    As you write the book, trust me, you will come to know what your characters look like.

  13. #2513
    neddyf
    Guest

    Re: Midlist book report

    Hi James and all users in this thread

    I have just found this site and have started to read this thread. I have been looking for something like this for ages...is it ok to post questions about your earlier postings as I read the previous 125 pages? Up to page 24 so far!

    One quick question about Setting, which you may well have gone through already, sorry if you have. I am in the planning stage of a book where the good guy takes his revenge on a few people (ex employers etc). I have the start and end, and a few sub plots and hope it will come together in the middle (big ask I guess).

    Regardsing Setting, is it better to use fictional city/town/street names and base it somehwere you know, or use the real place and maybe add a few extras for effect?

    Thanks in advance and I'll read as much as possible as quickly as I can to get up to page 126!

    Cheers

    Ned

  14. #2514
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: Midlist book report

    Regardsing Setting, is it better to use fictional city/town/street names and base it somehwere you know, or use the real place and maybe add a few extras for effect?

    Either could work -- author's choice.

    You have advantages and disadvantages either way.

    With a fictional city, no one is going to object that there's no such place as Eddie's Pawn Shop on Fifth and Elm, and there's no Fifth Street anyway -- it was renamed Pascal Drive in 1983.

    With a fictional city people are going to say "Funny, I never heard of Dunton, and why don't all these people make their lives easier by moving to Sacramento?

    With a real city, your readers will have mental pictures of the place already, so there's less work to do in building your setting. You can spend more time on your story. You can also research the place, and find interesting details that can help make your story come alive. (And you can go visit the place, have a great time, and write it off on your taxes. (Note: Take the advice of a tax professional before you do this.))

    Unfortunately, a real city may not have real places that you'll need, and may trip you up -- see Pascal Drive, above. The natives may give you a hard time. And you may have to make sure that somewhere you're using as a set isn't real. If you make the owner of Gino's Pizzaria a serial adulterer and have him come to a sticky end, you may want to make sure there isn't really a Gino's Pizzaria in that town. The owner might get perturbed.

    Anyway -- authors have gone both ways. I'm sure in your reading you've found both. If you can make the setting seem real to your readers, you've got it licked. Faulkner used Yoknapatawpha County, and there never was such a place. Ed McBain uses New York City, and there certainly is.

    You want advice? Put it in a real place that you know. Later on, if need be, you can use the mighty hand of Global Search and Replace to change all the names.

  15. #2515
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: I caught up!


    I will add my agreement to those who were baffled or bored by the beginning of The Summons. It would never have occured to me that the painting was of a KKK man, nor would it have placed him in the South in my mind. I live in Canada, so references like that go right over my head - shouldn't an experienced author like Grisham realize that he writes for an international audience?


    Perhaps he's writing for an international audience -- but he's also writing for himself. Grisham personally is a middle-aged Southern lawyer.

    Not all books speak to all readers. That's why there are a lot of books, and why we need to see your book.

    <HR>

    For those of you who are catching up -- there are lots of exercises along the way. I seriously recommend that y'all do 'em.

    I mean, if I ever meet you in person I'll expect you to know how to fold a paper hat, and be able to recite poems and quote Shakespeare.

    (Will that make you a better writer? Yes.)

    Okay, new exercise for y'all: Go get a movie on DVD, a recent one with lots of "extras." Now watch it. Then watch it with the director's commentary. Then watch the deleted scenes. Watch the alternate endings. Understand why it is that those scenes were deleted. Understand why the actual ending was the one that was used. (A great film for alternate endings is <A HREF="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005JMA8/ref=nosim/madhousemanor" target="_new">28 Days Later</A>.)

    Are we making movies? No, we're telling stories. The arts are related.

    Next exercise: Get a big box of <A HREF="http://www.amazon.com/exec/OBIDOS/ASIN/ B0001DUAR4/ref=nosim/madhousemanor/" target="_new">crayons</A>. Get a <A HREF="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005IX8H/ref=nosim/madhousemanor" target="_new">big tablet of paper</A>. Sit in your kitchen and draw some object, in its setting. The point here is to learn to see things. Find the details. Find the colors. See the shapes and relationships. Make it real. Use up all your paper. Make every picture the best it can be.

    All the arts are related.

  16. #2516
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Cranes

    It's said that if you fold a thousand cranes in a single year that your prayer will be answered.

    Perhaps it will.

    Get yourself a whole mess of <A HREF="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/080483525X/ref-nosim/madhousemanor" target="_new">origami paper</A>, and start folding cranes. Pray that you will become a better writer.

    Before the year (and the thousanth crane) is done, I promise that you will be good at folding cranes. You'll be able to fold cranes without looking. You'll be able to fold cranes in your hands without needing a table to crease them.

    Will you be a better writer? Perhaps your prayer will be answered.

    Then, for the next year, take the time that you spent folding cranes, and write words. At the end of the year, I promise you'll be a better writer. Just as you got good at folding cranes with practice, you'll get good at writing.

    Perhaps your earlier cranes didn't turn out too well. You worked on your technique, you made sure the edges met exactly, you learned to make your creases sharp.

    Perhaps in your earlier writing the stories didn't turn out too well. You'll learn to describe your characters exactly, you'll learn to make your plots sharp.

    Folding a thousand cranes is a good thing in itself. (At the very least you'll always have a party trick with which you can amuse a child.) Rather than praying to become a better writer, pray for health and peace for others. When you're finished with your cranes, string them as a mobile and donate it to a hospital.

    Best wishes to all in this holiday season.

  17. #2517
    Joanclr
    Guest

    Question about 3rd Omni POV

    Uncle Jim, I want to ask your opinion on 3rd person Omniscient POV (where you are aware of all character's thoughts and alternate among them without a scene change). From what I've read, it's rarely used, difficult to pull off, but acceptable if done properly with smooth transitions. However, when chatting with my crit group last night, a couple people mentioned that they find this POV jarring to read and tend to view it as poor writing.

    "Wild Seed" by Octavia E. Butler used this to great effect, but I am wondering what editors and publishers (and readers!) tend to think of this style (particularly as seen in a first-time author). Is it generally accepted?--Or the sort of thing that may well tip the scales of favor against you? I feel my story would be told best in that style, but if it is a less common form of writing, or not universally appreciated, then I may do better to keep to 3rd Rotating (switching by scene).

    Since the story will end up coming out somewhat differently according to which POV I use, I'm hoping to do my research beforehand and get it as near to right as possible so as to save work in the long run.

    Any thoughts on this subject would be much appreciated.
    Thanks!

    Joan

  18. #2518
    neddyf
    Guest

    Re: Midlist book report

    James

    I'm still on catch-up. Page 49 now.

    Could you post a short example of 1st, 3rd and 3rd Omni for me (us) please. This will help me make sure I am doing it right.

    Thanks again for a great thread.

    Ned

  19. #2519
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: Question about 3rd Omni POV

    Joan, if that's what's best for your story then that's what you should use.

    Yes, it's a fiendishly difficult POV to use ... well. Is your skill up to it? Octavia Butler can manage because Octavia Butler is an excellent writer.

    Not every pianist can play every piano concerto. Some are more difficult than others; some pianists are more skilled than others.

    What can I say? Try. The master rule is Does It Work.

    (Note: If you do it and it works, editors and readers won't care if you're a first timer. What tips the scales against you is not carrying off what you attempt.)

  20. #2520
    maestrowork
    Guest

    Re: Cranes

    Some well-known authors occasionally slip into ominscient when they write in 3rd limited... the result is okay -- probably only a writer would notice since it is only a slip-up or two. For example, in Skipping Christmas (which is NOT my favorite Grisham book at all) the POV character is mostly Luther Krank, sometimes Nora. But Grisham slipped the POV to minor characters at various places. I'm very sure it's not deliberate -- it's more laziness and sloppiness on his part. Does it work? No. But they happen so rarely in the book that it's not noticeable. A big name like Grisham can get away with that.

  21. #2521
    Joanclr
    Guest

    Re: Question about 3rd Omni POV

    Wise advice, Uncle Jim. I think I am motivated to give it a shot. After all, the worst that can happen is the old revise, revise, revise.

    Do you have any specific tips for writing in this POV?Anything you'd recommend watching out for or ways to use it most effectively?

    Thanks again,
    Joan

  22. #2522
    Fillanzea
    Guest

    Thousand Cranes

    On the subject of a thousand cranes, and not about writing at all, but oh well:

    "Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes," a short and heartbreaking book, is highly recommended. It's about a girl who develops leukemia because of the atomic bombs that hit Japan.

    I went to the Nagasaki atomic bomb memorial one year, and saw colored streamers as I walked along the path. When I looked closer I realized that they were made up of tiny origami cranes, strung together, as a prayer for peace.

    I can fold a crane in about two minutes. A thousand would take six minutes a day for a year... I suspect that it would take more time than that to improve me much as a writer. :b

  23. #2523
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: Thousand Cranes

    On the subject of a thousand cranes, and not about writing at all....

    Welcome, Fillanzea. As you'll discover from this thread, for me everything is about writing.

    If you devote as little as six minutes a day to writing, for a year, and you use those six minutes fully, your writing will improve. How much, that I can't say.

  24. #2524
    Nateskate
    Guest

    Re: Learn Writing with Uncle Jim

    More great insights. Great thread.

    I'm starting from the beginning, but also I go to the end to see what's new as well.

    You should think about publishing this book! It's a good read.

  25. #2525
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: Question about 3rd Omni POV

    Do you have any specific tips for writing in this POV? Anything you'd recommend watching out for or ways to use it most effectively?

    Alas, no. I don't have any specific tips. There aren't any cheats that I know of for writing omniscent third.

    (For third limited, one cheat is to write each scene in first person, then translate to third in the next draft.)

    The only thing I can suggest is that you take a stack of works by major talents written in third omniscent, and analyse them. See how they work. See what the author is doing. Retype whole chapters. Break them down sentence by sentence. Use highlighters to mark the shifting viewpoints.

    Does this sound like you have to teach yourself a masters-level literature course?

    Yes.

    Then, into the deep end of the pool with you. Write your book.

    Remember Yoda? "There is no try. Do ... or do not."

Page 101 of 398 FirstFirst ... 265176919596979899100101102103104105106107111126151176201351 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search