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Thread: Learn Writing with Uncle Jim, Volume 1

  1. #6376
    practical experience, FTW alanna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    Arrrrgh! Words per day! Not Pages!

    On my very best day I've only managed a bit over a hundred pages.
    "only." "ONLY" he says!!
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  2. #6377
    practical experience, FTW Niteowl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch Wagner View Post
    My biggest problem as a fiction writer is that I have no confidence. I think everything I write is crap.
    Oh sweet Odin and Thor, I have the same... no, not feelings, conviction. It's not a good. Especially when I still feel that way AFTER the edit. I'm not sure if there is a solution to this problem. Perhaps write something new (and possibly) less craptacular? *shrugs*

  3. #6378
    glad to be here Lilybiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niteowl View Post
    Oh sweet Odin and Thor, I have the same... no, not feelings, conviction. It's not a good. Especially when I still feel that way AFTER the edit. I'm not sure if there is a solution to this problem. Perhaps write something new (and possibly) less craptacular? *shrugs*
    When you love the work, it's painful if the work doesn't love you.

    It's healthy to be able to critique our work honestly, but if we lack confidence completely maybe then it's not so healthy.

    Have you (Niteowl, Mitch) received critiques? Have you found a group/mirror to shine your stuff into and get some feedback? Would that help you see where you stand?

    If I were to reword those questions, what I would really ask is this: is your fear founded in reality? If so, you can do something: study the craft and improve your work. If the fear is founded in something else you can also do something: take the steps needed (therapy, voodoo, mountain climbing--whatever works for you) to improve your outlook.

    One doesn't have to live in the fear that one's beloved work isn't good enough. My two cents on the subject.

  4. #6379
    Too stupid to know fear Ava Jarvis's Avatar
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    I suggest taking Jim's advice: find the works of authors you admire, and retype their chapters/stories/whatever. And listen with your writer's ear. We absorb style and writing tastes from what we read and which resonates with us; by retyping and internalizing, it's a more immersive form of reading.

    It's what I'm doing to relearn all that I lost (and learn more on top of that). Helps confidence too.

    It's also a good warm-up into 250 words per day.

    And yes, it helps you be a better typer. (If you like, you can also find typing lessons and take those. It will help you feel less frustrated in all walks of writing later.)
    Last edited by Ava Jarvis; 08-30-2007 at 05:25 AM.

  5. #6380
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    http://www.sff.net/people/yog/permission.pdf

    Permission To Write Badly. Suitable for framing.

  6. #6381
    Absolute sagebrush Ken Schneider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    http://www.sff.net/people/yog/permission.pdf

    Permission To Write Badly. Suitable for framing.

    Print it, and hang it up right in front of your face.

    Does wonders for writer's block.

    Jim, Have I missed any writing exercises while on my hiatus? Writing like a wild man.


    Be well all, Ken
    Last edited by Ken Schneider; 09-03-2007 at 05:03 PM.
    J.D. Salinger told The New York Times in 1974. "Publishing is a terrible invasion of my privacy. I like to write. I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure."

  7. #6382
    I'm a king bee cletus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    http://www.sff.net/people/yog/permission.pdf

    Permission To Write Badly. Suitable for framing.
    I have used this permission extensively over the last 2 days. The idea for the scene is in my head, but does not want to go onto the screen in an orderly fashion. One thousand words of pure crap that can be sorted through, shifted about, and shined up in a couple months when it is time to edit.

  8. #6383
    glad to be here Lilybiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cletus View Post
    I have used this permission extensively over the last 2 days.
    I use it extensively all the time.

  9. #6384
    Reinventing Myself Scribhneoir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aertep View Post
    I use it extensively all the time.
    I carry it with me wherever I go.

  10. #6385
    practical experience, FTW NemoBook's Avatar
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    My favorite warm-up is this new collaborative novel-writing site I just found, where they gather a bunch of writers to work on a single project (which the company publishes once the given book is finished).

    There's an extensive outline for each project, broken down page-by-page, so it's not just willy-nilly exquisite corpse-style writing. They give you a synopsis for a given page and then four or five writers try their hand at writing 800-1000 words to flesh out that synopsis. The pages are rated and the best one winds up in the published book (with some editing on the back-end to make it all work together). A few of my MFA buddies are doing it too, so sometimes we play games with each other -- like, extra points for whoever can include the weirdest sandwich in their given page.

    It's a young site, but it's been by far my most helpful "throat-clearing" warm up to do in the mornings before I get to my own personal work -- especially because there's a deadline and people are waiting for my work. Gets the cobwebs out and then I can dive in. Plus, it's another low-stress shot at publication. I love it.

  11. #6386
    practical experience, FTW Niteowl's Avatar
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    Er, link?

  12. #6387
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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  13. #6388
    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    GREAT article. My novel hasn't even been published and I already have to deal with this one:

    You are now the foremost authority on the English language. At least, this is what all your friends/relatives who do not write will assume, and they will treat you like their personal diction consultant. While you are at work, you will receive phone calls from Florida, where your aunt wants to know about a comma she's considering for the church bulletin.
    In addition to this, I am also percieved as a walking dictionary. Lately I've started saying what my mom always told me as a kid, "Oh, go look it up yourself."
    Goodreads - Twitter - Website - Facebook

    Courting Greta has been released into the wide world!
    I have also entered the world of self-pubbing with a short story, Christmas in the Californios, 1833.

  14. #6389
    Lightly salted Willowmound's Avatar
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    How peculiar. I love being dictionary-man.
    I has a beard.

  15. #6390
    glad to be here Lilybiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willowmound View Post
    How peculiar. I love being dictionary-man.
    Willowmound, you made me laugh! I enjoyed Ms. Priest's article, but that one puzzled me, too, because I do like being the family language authority (even when I don't have the slightest idea what I'm talking about).

  16. #6391
    practical experience, FTW NemoBook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NemoBook View Post
    My favorite warm-up is this new collaborative novel-writing site I just found, where they gather a bunch of writers to work on a single project (which the company publishes once the given book is finished).

    There's an extensive outline for each project, broken down page-by-page, so it's not just willy-nilly exquisite corpse-style writing. They give you a synopsis for a given page and then four or five writers try their hand at writing 800-1000 words to flesh out that synopsis. The pages are rated and the best one winds up in the published book (with some editing on the back-end to make it all work together). A few of my MFA buddies are doing it too, so sometimes we play games with each other -- like, extra points for whoever can include the weirdest sandwich in their given page.

    It's a young site, but it's been by far my most helpful "throat-clearing" warm up to do in the mornings before I get to my own personal work -- especially because there's a deadline and people are waiting for my work. Gets the cobwebs out and then I can dive in. Plus, it's another low-stress shot at publication. I love it.
    Sorry, forgot to post the link. It's www.webook.com

    I got involved with this pretty early, but I will check to see if they're looking for new writers.
    Last edited by NemoBook; 09-09-2007 at 01:29 AM.

  17. #6392
    practical experience, FTW NemoBook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niteowl View Post
    Er, link?
    Niteowl (or anyone else), here's the link. They're apparently looking for a ton of writers right now (moving into beta testing phase of the site), so if you're interested, register and apply here:

    https://www.webook.com/register.aspx...9c3QhLMn35%2fI

    I've been alpha testing for these guys for a few months, and it's a nice way to get the literary juices flowing in the morning. I'm not sure what they're looking for now, but I've made some extra $$ and been able to mess around with lots of genres (literary fiction, but also mysteries, thrillers, sci-fi, childrens, etc.). Totally worth it. There's info on the site, but PM me if you have any questions.

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  19. #6394
    Naked Futon Guy allenparker's Avatar
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    Quandry

    I finished a writing my WIP. I've been pretty proud of this particular WIP and eagerly crawled into reading the first few chapters. I couldn't edit it. I read it, but I just couldn't get to "fixing" it.

    Instead of thinking it would make Stephen King jealous, I wasn't sure who the audience was. I couldn't tell if there was a reason for reading it, or whether the book showed any value. It was either the best story I've ever written or the worst. I teetered on the brink of deleting it.

    I knew the book was rough to the point of being raw. I knew some people would find it offensive. But I couldn't tell if what I had done was unique or crap.

    I asked two trusted betas to read it. One thought it brilliant. The other couldn't finish five pages. To break the tie, I burned my mystery beta and asked her to read some pages. Her comments were more of the "I'd finish it, but only to find out why the guy was killing people."

    Ever have one of these weeks? I see the book completely different from all the others and even I can't tell if it is my best work to date or some bird cage liner ready for publication through Dorrance.


    Now what?
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  20. #6395
    glad to be here Lilybiz's Avatar
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    Congratulations on finishing, Allen. It's a major achievement just to do that. The rest--the confusion--is interesting, and I look forward to hearing what you discover. I think it says your WIP is at least not boring or middle-of-the-road, and that's something.

  21. #6396
    AW's Resident Commie bsolah's Avatar
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    Yeah, kind of interested to have a read myself, Allen.

    Post it on SYW and leave a link, if you'd like.

  22. #6397
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Give it three months in your desk drawer while you write something else.

  23. #6398
    Veni Vidi Scripsi Red Robin's Avatar
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    Since I'm still fairly new here this suggestion might seem completely crazy, but...

    Why don't we have an Uncle Jim forum rather than a thread? 256 pages of thread is a little much.

    Am I nuts? I don't think I'm nuts.



  24. #6399
    Odd person AceTachyon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    http://www.sff.net/people/yog/permission.pdf

    Permission To Write Badly. Suitable for framing.
    Thank you, Uncle Jim.

    Printed and framed.

  25. #6400
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    This isn't even the longest thread at Absolute Write.

    Meanwhile, here's an Index to Miss Snark.

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