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Thread: Learn Writing with Uncle Jim, Volume 1

  1. #7951
    Esteemed thinker Calliopenjo's Avatar
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    Smile Happy Birthday Uncle Jim



    Have a Good Day Uncle Jim.

    Wounded I sing, tormented I indite. Victor Herbert (1859-1924)

  2. #7952
    Mexican on the loose! DamaNegra's Avatar
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    Oh, is it today?

    HAPPY B-DAY, UNCLE JIM!!
    Ac in topehuaz in itlaxillo in ihuicatlan?


  3. #7953
    Dragon rider Perle_Rare's Avatar
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    Oooops... There's a whole thread dedicated to birthday wishes for Uncle Jim in Office Party. Hadn't seen it till just now...

  4. #7954
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Thanks, all.

  5. #7955
    practical experience, FTW Sirion's Avatar
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    Happy B-Day Uncle Jim!

  6. #7956
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Good people all, d'ye know what you could do for my birthday? Order a copy of Salt and Silver by my beloved elder daughter, Katherine Juliana.

    It's her first novel, and I'm intensely proud of her (for all that she hasn't allowed me to read it, and didn't mention that she'd written it until after it sold.....)

  7. #7957
    Comic guy Bartholomew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    Good people all, d'ye know what you could do for my birthday? Order a copy of Salt and Silver by my beloved elder daughter, Katherine Juliana.

    It's her first novel, and I'm intensely proud of her (for all that she hasn't allowed me to read it, and didn't mention that she'd written it until after it sold.....)
    Hey, wow. Guess it runs in the family.
    I make a webcomic. Clicking it makes you awesome.

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  8. #7958
    Otherwise Occupied Cassiopeia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    Good people all, d'ye know what you could do for my birthday? Order a copy of Salt and Silver by my beloved elder daughter, Katherine Juliana.

    It's her first novel, and I'm intensely proud of her (for all that she hasn't allowed me to read it, and didn't mention that she'd written it until after it sold.....)
    What a sweet dad you are! And so supportive too even when she left you out of the loop. You must be so proud of her. Congrats to both of you.

    "The key to writing success is perseverance, don't get discouraged,
    write from the heart and what emerges will be worthwhile." ~Author Bob Lee

  9. #7959
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Impediments aid art. Add restrictions rather than take them away.


    Here is a zombie story written on a Twitter: http://cavalaxis.blogspot.com/2009/0...s-at-time.html

    The only thing that I'd change is to delete the line It was like watching a bad B movie. Because that would remind the reader that this is a bad B movie. (And has been, and will be. Thus you never have your character say "You sound like the villain in a cheap romance!" lest the readers say, "Y'know, you're right," and seek something other than a cheap romance for their reading pleasure. Nor do you have your scientist/inventor say of her invention, "It sounds like something out of science fiction, but...."

  10. #7960
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin bpmann's Avatar
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    Hmmm, I wonder if "I know it sounds like a line from a Newberry Award winner, but..." would work.

  11. #7961
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpmann View Post
    Hmmm, I wonder if "I know it sounds like a line from a Newberry Award winner, but..." would work.
    No, I don't think so. The characters can not be aware that they're in a work of art.

  12. #7962
    Sick and absent Shweta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    No, I don't think so. The characters can not be aware that they're in a work of art.
    ...Unless it serves the story?

    In Pamela Dean's Secret Country trilogy, the well-read kid characters and up falling into another world, and keep trying to figure out how things will work there with "Well in Narnia, no time passes at home..." and such reasoning. And of course, they're wrong every time

    Part of why that didn't make me, as a reader, more aware that I was reading a book is that -- well! The "kids falling into other world" trope is so established that it would have been weirder if these kids were not aware of it -- and also the series revolves largely around that tension between what's make-believe and what's real.
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  13. #7963
    Esteemed thinker Calliopenjo's Avatar
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    Question

    Uncle Jim,

    I have a question. Yeah I know. Laugh. Anyway, would it be wrong to write: He yelled across the room "Don't go there!" Or would it be better to write: "Don't go there!" He said looking at Sam across the room. If I've confused you my question is this. Is it just better to use "said?" Instead of declared, yelled, rambled. . .

    Wounded I sing, tormented I indite. Victor Herbert (1859-1924)

  14. #7964
    In Honor of Peter Tomich,USS Utah Komnena's Avatar
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    Remind me of Salt and Silver again on FRiday.
    Komnena
    new messterpiece 2503 words



  15. #7965
    Mexican on the loose! DamaNegra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    No, I don't think so. The characters can not be aware that they're in a work of art.
    Have you never read El Quijote?
    Ac in topehuaz in itlaxillo in ihuicatlan?


  16. #7966
    Vagrant Story
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    Breaking the fourth wall is one of those things that you can make work, but there are eight and sixty very good reasons not to.

    Putting a character into a fictional world (Neverending Story) isn't the same as breaking the fourth wall. "I'm in a story world" is more "I'm an intruder into this story world" and it's worked. "This world seems to behave like Narnia" works as well-- Narnia is part of the literary canon so it's not inconceivable for a story character to refer to it. Characters believing they're the main character in a story isn't too far, either. As in real life, many characters like to imagine themselves as the hero in a fairy tale, as the lead character in some wonderful story, or, if you live in the suburbs, as a cast member in a soap opera. It works when they're wrong-- they may think they're in a story, as long as they don't know it's yours. When your character believes she's in a remake of Pride & Prejudice, she'd best be wrong or your readers won't bother with your remake of Emma.
    But as one bright star shines through the clouds at night
    And as one song rings clear above the roar of beasts
    We hold to one hope in these darkest of times.
    That star is you, and the song is yours.


  17. #7967
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calliopenjo View Post
    He yelled across the room "Don't go there!" Or would it be better to write: "Don't go there!" He said looking at Sam across the room.
    I'd say:

    He yelled, "Don't go there!"

    or maybe:

    "Don't go there," he yelled.

    He said looking at Sam across the room
    is clumsy.

    Said-words are a spice.

    You wouldn't want your page to read:

    "The green ones don't taste any better," Joe advised.

    "In your opinion," Sam babbled. He was sorting the green M&Ms into a separate pile.

    "Do you have to do that?" Joe commented. "It's crazy." The tic-tic-tic sound of M&Ms landing on the pile was the loudest sound in their apartment. It had been quiet ever since Mandy moved out.

    "Crazy? Who are you calling crazy?" Sam emphasized. "I wasn't the one who spent his entire teenage years in the laughing academy."

    "My parents had me committed because Dad lost his job and they couldn't afford to keep me," Joe grinned. "There wasn't anything wrong with me."

    Tic! An M&M fell off the table and rolled across the floor. Sam watched it go.

    "I think I'll call my Mom," Joe expressed after a moment.

    "What are you going to call her?" Sam grunted.

    "Don't go there," Joe yelled.

  18. #7968
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin bpmann's Avatar
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    My favorite is still:

    "Shut up," I explained.

  19. #7969
    Esteemed thinker Calliopenjo's Avatar
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    Question

    Hi Uncle Jim
    I have a question. Will I get in trouble for mentioning REAL book titles in a story without saying please? Or do I have to say please?

    Wounded I sing, tormented I indite. Victor Herbert (1859-1924)

  20. #7970
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    No, I don't think so. The characters can not be aware that they're in a work of art.
    Unless that's the point of the whole thing (like a Jasper Fforde novel, or this new "Lost in Austen" show).

    It's either a centerpiece or nothing.

    Quote Originally Posted by bpmann View Post
    My favorite is still:

    "Shut up," I explained.
    It's actually

    Are you lost daddy I arsked tenderly.

    Shut up he explained.


    From The Young Immigrunts by Ring Lardner, Jr. (probably actually by Ring Lardner, Sr.--written as a parody of The Young Visiters by Daisy Ashford, which was a hit the previous year.)
    Last edited by IceCreamEmpress; 02-26-2009 at 04:30 AM.

  21. #7971
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Titles can't be copyrighted.

    Be sure that mentioning the titles is vital to the story; at the same time be sure that people who haven't read those works will still "get" your story.

    (Or, not. I recently had a story published in which I had the protagonist reading Grimm's Deutsche Mythologie. Many of my readers would be unfamiliar with this book.)

  22. #7972
    Esteemed thinker Calliopenjo's Avatar
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    Thanks Uncle Jim.

    Wounded I sing, tormented I indite. Victor Herbert (1859-1924)

  23. #7973
    Where did I put me specs? euclid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceCreamEmpress View Post
    Are you lost daddy I arsked tenderly.

    Shut up he explained.

    From The Young Immigrunts by Ring Lardner, Jr. (probably actually by Ring Lardner, Sr.--written as a parody of The Young Visiters by Daisy Ashford, which was a hit the previous year.)
    Why do you say this was probably by RL Snr.?

    Ordered a copy of Daisy Ashford's book from Amazon
    Last edited by euclid; 02-26-2009 at 07:39 PM. Reason: Found Daisy Ashford
    My web site http://www.jjtoner.net/
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  24. #7974
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Free Lessons in Cyberspace for Genre Writers

    A collection of useful links from a speculative mystery writer.

  25. #7975
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    The Young Visiters; or, Mr. Salteena's Plan by Daisy Ashford. A novel, from 1919. It went into multiple printings in its first year.

    Ms. Ashford was nine years old when she wrote it.

    The novel was turned into a stage play, which ran in New York and London in 1920.

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