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Thread: Learn Writing with Uncle Jim, Volume 1

  1. #3301
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    You tell the agent after he has agreed to represent you. Before that point it's your business, not his, what else you've done with the manuscript.

  2. #3302
    a work in progress
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
    You tell the agent after he has agreed to represent you. Before that point it's your business, not his, what else you've done with the manuscript.
    Got it. Thank you!
    Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little (Niki)

    Author, occasionally published. Watch this space for more, or visit the amazing actually writing blog. (It actually writes!)

  3. #3303
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Finally

    *pants*

    I'm done. Now I can breath again.

    It only took me three weeks to read this entire thread (not sure how long it will take to absorb or apply it).

    I've:
    Ordered logical chess....
    Okay, that's all I've done so far, but I'll do the rest as well.

    Trying to work two hours of BIC on a deployment is difficult, but I squeeze in whatever time I can.

    A million thanks for all of the great advise here, Uncle Jim, et al.
    Last edited by Jason M. Dyess; 04-04-2005 at 12:43 PM. Reason: Can't spell

  4. #3304
    AW Addict black winged fighter's Avatar
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    Welcome, Jason, and congrats on the speedy read. This thread is certainly the place to be for all us writers!
    "I want to live until I die, no more, no less..."
    - Eddie Izzard

    <!-- begin link -->Serenity: The Official Movie Website
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  5. #3305
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Where are you deployed, Jason?

    I picked up my college degree while on active duty deployed, and started writing while stationed overseas.

  6. #3306
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Welcome Jason

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason M. Dyess
    Trying to work two hours of BIC on a deployment is difficult, but I squeeze in whatever time I can.
    I'm assuming that means your in the military, wow. That's got to be difficult.

    Is it just me, or do quite a few American writers seem to have served in the army before becoming a writer?

  7. #3307
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin paritoshuttam's Avatar
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    Cool MS Word's grammar check

    A Word to the unwise -- program's grammar check isn't so smart

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/busine..._grammar28.asp

    Microsoft the company should big improve Word grammar check.

    No, your eyes aren't deceiving you. That sentence is a confusing jumble. However, it is perfectly fine in the assessment of Microsoft Word's built-in grammar checker, which detects no problem with the prose.
    ...
    "Marketing are bad for brand big and small. You Know What I am Saying? It is no wondering that advertisings are bad for company in America, Chicago and Germany. ... McDonald's and Coca Cola are good brand. ... Gates do good marketing job in Microsoft."
    ...

    - Paritosh

  8. #3308
    Grumpy oswann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paritoshuttam
    A Word to the unwise -- program's grammar check isn't so smart

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/busine..._grammar28.asp

    Microsoft the company should big improve Word grammar check.

    No, your eyes aren't deceiving you. That sentence is a confusing jumble. However, it is perfectly fine in the assessment of Microsoft Word's built-in grammar checker, which detects no problem with the prose.
    ...
    "Marketing are bad for brand big and small. You Know What I am Saying? It is no wondering that advertisings are bad for company in America, Chicago and Germany. ... McDonald's and Coca Cola are good brand. ... Gates do good marketing job in Microsoft."
    ...

    - Paritosh


    Grammar checks by Microsoft or anyone else can confuse more than help. The most useful thing about the majority of them is the 'off' button.



    Os.

  9. #3309
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
    Where are you deployed, Jason?

    I picked up my college degree while on active duty deployed, and started writing while stationed overseas.
    I'm in Qatar. The only reason I even consider it a deployment is because I am away from my family, but the hours aren't short.
    Strange place for an Army guy: on an Air Force base.

  10. #3310
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    I probably shouldn't mention what kind of unhealthy things I did to my body to make time for writing. (Up two hours before reveille; gallons of coffee.)

  11. #3311
    The Stooge Slayer lindylou45's Avatar
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    Jason. Be careful!
    Linda

    Visit The Stooge Slayer! at www.publishamericasucks.com . Taking PublishAmerica down one stooge at a time! :faint:

  12. #3312
    Writer Beware's Faithful Igor Richard White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason M. Dyess
    I'm in Qatar. The only reason I even consider it a deployment is because I am away from my family, but the hours aren't short.
    Strange place for an Army guy: on an Air Force base.
    Jason,

    I can sympathize with you. Spent 3.5 years stationed at Goodfellow AFB. Being the only Army Battalion on an Air Force base was "strange". Course, if we thought we had it bad, the poor Marines only had a DET (slightly larger than a company).

    Our Brigade was at Ft. Huachucha but our admin was handled through Ft. Hood and serious medical was handled through Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio. (HELP!!!!)

  13. #3313
    Banned zizban's Avatar
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    Navy here. USS Abraham Lincoln. Nothing like trying to find time to write on a busy aircraft carrier!

  14. #3314
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    My problem is more than time crunch. Alas, I am a cat vacuumer (and washer and waxer). If I try to write anything longer than a short story, I get partway in and realize that I am writing cr*p (or don't know what to write). So, I start reading about writing to figure out what is wrong with me, knowing all along that what is wrong is that I need to sit and write anything, even if it is cr*p, 'cause I can fix it later.

    Gallons of Coffee? I don't know if I am capable of drinking anymore. I am, however, moving my wake-up time to earlier in the afternoon (I work nights) so I can start BIC'ing.

    I can identify with those Marines; there are only 40 people in my unit.
    Last edited by Jason M. Dyess; 04-05-2005 at 04:09 AM. Reason: Still can't spell

  15. #3315
    practical experience, FTW
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    I've just started BICing and ... I'm getting heaps better at Solitaire. Plus the housework is getting done verrrrry quickly.

    When I finally get words on screen, what I'm writing inevitably turns out to be really, really bad. The best thing you can say about it is it's grammatical and spelt correctly. My new approach is telling myself I've got permission to write badly. Next time I BIC I will have to see whether that's made a difference.

    As for not knowing what to write, that used to happen to me. With my latest attempt at a novel, I've spent a lot of time outlining. It's given me a real boost in confidence, and had actually taken one of my writing problems away - it's no longer "what happens, and how exactly?" but just "how exactly?".

    Next step is finding time to BIC, on a much more regular basis. If James could get up 2 hrs before reveille to write, then all the excuses I've told myself as to why I can't make time each day seem pretty pathetic.

  16. #3316
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by katee
    I've just started BICing and ... I'm getting heaps better at Solitaire. Plus the housework is getting done verrrrry quickly.
    Change your Solitaire shortcut to be a shortcut to your word processing program instead. Yes, really. I unplug my internet connection when I'm BICing, because that's my inevitable temptation.

    I can't always give myself permission to write badly, but I can usually give myself permission to be an apprentice. I guess the difference is that I'm still very much obliged to care about the quality of my writing, but I'm allowed to make mistakes because there are things I can't know yet.

  17. #3317
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Jason, Katee, I hereby give you permission to write absolute garbage.

    I'm sure you've heard that everyone has to write a million or two words of garbage, to get 'em out of their systems? Well, what's stopping you? Get 'em on paper!

    The only thing I don't give you permission to do is stop before you reach "The End."

    Maybe the story will be good, maybe it won't be -- but until you get it on paper it ain't nothing.
    Last edited by James D. Macdonald; 04-06-2005 at 04:07 AM.

  18. #3318
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    For some reason, it helps to be given permission to write garbage. I am moving my BIC time from morning back to nights. I'll let you know tomorrow how it went.

  19. #3319
    I am a pretty pretty flower Galoot's Avatar
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    No internet

    At 3:00 yesterday afternoon we lost our internet connection. We didn't get it back until 1:00pm today.

    Those were the most productive 22 hours I've had in months.

    Not only did I get close to 4000 words in, I outlined another 2500 (which, I'm thinking, has partly solved my main problem--knowing the beginning and the end, but not knowing how to get everyone there).

    Now the net's back up and I have to do my real job again. Damn. Maybe I'll take an axe to the cable.
    Okay, I'll stop referencing you in my sig, reph. Happy now?

  20. #3320
    Banned zizban's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason M. Dyess
    For some reason, it helps to be given permission to write garbage. I am moving my BIC time from morning back to nights. I'll let you know tomorrow how it went.
    Same here. I have no idea if its good or bad but its going.

  21. #3321
    Sneezy Member mistri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Galoot
    At 3:00 yesterday afternoon we lost our internet connection. We didn't get it back until 1:00pm today.

    Those were the most productive 22 hours I've had in months.

    Not only did I get close to 4000 words in, I outlined another 2500 (which, I'm thinking, has partly solved my main problem--knowing the beginning and the end, but not knowing how to get everyone there).

    Now the net's back up and I have to do my real job again. Damn. Maybe I'll take an axe to the cable.
    I would've written 98 million novels by now if it wasn't for the Internet. Saying that, I've learned a lot from (the good) writing communities that might've taken me a lot longer to find out on my own.

  22. #3322
    practical experience, FTW mudflat_marsh_hawk's Avatar
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    writing garbage...

    I agree with James. For me anyway, each day of writing includes about 10-15 minutes of clearing the sludge as it were. After that, and sometimes sooner, my mind clears and the writing improves. I akin it to doing body stretches or warming up before running. I have to get the mind in shape to get the "real" writing. Look at it this way, not all of us start out painting Picassos, and we must practice and work to get to the jewels hidden within.




    --Just found this thread --- Thank you for sharing with us from your knowledge and experience as a writer.

    Cheers!
    --mudflat

  23. #3323
    practical experience, FTW
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    Last night's BIC did go more smoothly, once I realised it was OK to cringe at what I was producing.

    And looking over the stuff I'd done on the weekend, it wasn't as bad as I thought. Well, maybe it was, but I've been able to work with it a little, improving what I had, with the added bonus of having a nicely fleshed out scene sitting on my computer.

    I've also starting taking notice of how I write in other aspects of my life - my blog, emails, reports for work (and, yes, posts on this forum too). I've noticed that I usually have an idea I want to get out, but I spend a decent amount of time playing around with work choices, sentence structure, paragraphing etc. If I do it for measly 50 word emails, I should probably expect to write my novel the same way!

    So my aim for the first draft is: write each scene as I want it to happen, and get to the end of the book. Then it will be time to fiddle around with what I've written.

  24. #3324
    practical experience, FTW alaskamatt17's Avatar
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    Katee, that's great that you're now moving along. I've been moving along pretty nicely on my WIP (Up to about 36,000 words now), and I started writing a new short story, which is pretty entertaining, though I'll be the first to admit it's no fine work of art.

    On another note, I found the novel I wrote when I was fourteen--and it's terrible. I had a good laugh reading dialogue such as: "How dare you assault a guard such as myself." This is one of those first novels that should be burned or thrown in the Atlantic, but I think instead I'll keep it for a good laugh once I am published.

  25. #3325
    Banned zizban's Avatar
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    I still have my first novel, too, and its not as bad as I thought it would be upon re-reading it last night. Some good ideas I may use again in other stories. WIP goes, sludge and all.

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