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Thread: Learn Writing with Uncle Jim, Volume 1

  1. #9876
    Where did I put me specs? euclid's Avatar
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    Jim, I tried reading my book out loud, but it sounded no different than it does when I just read it. (When I read I verbalize in my mind; I know some people don't). Anyway, I think that's not going to work in my case.

    Re talking to the characters: I get each character to write a few paragraphs about themselves. That seems to work well.
    Last edited by euclid; 08-20-2009 at 05:43 PM.
    My web site http://www.jjtoner.net/
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  2. #9877
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Do you pause for breath when you verbalize in your mind? Does unconscious alliteration leap out at you? Does the repetition of certain words and phrases become obvious to you?

  3. #9878
    Where did I put me specs? euclid's Avatar
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    All right already! I'll try it again.
    My web site http://www.jjtoner.net/
    I'm on Twitter @jjtoner_YA



  4. #9879
    practical experience, FTW Blue Sky's Avatar
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    Jim, as a fly on the wall, I hope your playing and having fun as a pro writer figures prominently in any writing book you decide to publish. Your straight talk about having to continually write new material in order to pay bills and so forth knocks the false expectations away without elaboration.

    Along those lines, I recently read If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland. She understood the creative process quite well. Most highly recommended for folks wrestling with the Muse! Another one recently was The Spooky Art--Some Thoughts On Writing by Norman Mailer. He says the book leans toward advanced writers--not much basic "how to." Mailer shares a lot from his interesting perspective. He was certainly a successful writer with two Pulitzer Prizes as well. Fun when he looks back and pans his earlier work, including The Naked and the Dead, his mega-seller debut novel. I've started reading some of his recommendations, among them Hemmingway's In Our Time and Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer. Yowsa!

    Welcome back Steve. Great job at the writing.

  5. #9880
    Part of the Scenery Neversage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smsarber View Post
    17 days in the hospital, major surgery where they removed the entire lower lobe of my right lung, and parts of the other two lobes. Still, I wrote 2001 words on my novel... so, is that having my priorities in order, or just insanity?
    Good sir, that is--as we say in the gaming world--full of win. I am glad you are back, and hope you make a full recovery in a timely manner.

    One of the reasons Never writes is because reality often bores him.

  6. #9881
    Whore for genre HConn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smsarber View Post
    17 days in the hospital, major surgery where they removed the entire lower lobe of my right lung, and parts of the other two lobes. Still, I wrote 2001 words on my novel... so, is that having my priorities in order, or just insanity?
    Note to self: Lack of coffee is no longer an acceptable excuse for an unproductive day.
    Look for CHILD OF FIRE from Del Rey! Read a sample chapter. Hey! it's been named to Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2009 list!

    Book 2 in the Twenty Palaces series: GAME OF CAGES. or check out these sample chapters.

  7. #9882
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    I long-ago decided that when I stopped having fun doing anything that I'd stop doing it that same day.

  8. #9883
    Absolute sagebrush Ken Schneider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HConn View Post
    Note to self: Lack of coffee is no longer an acceptable excuse for an unproductive day.
    I gave up coffee and soda when my fingers moved faster when I wasn't typing.

    Back to busniess, and a question.

    When editing a finished ms.

    I keep saying as I read, I need to expand on this It should have more info.

    Is that bad, and should I be cutting instead of adding?
    Last edited by Ken Schneider; 08-21-2009 at 04:10 AM.
    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."

  9. #9884
    Back from the dead lucidzfl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5bcarnies View Post
    That you can type really fast. hehe
    lol fair enough. I'm not upset at my 140 wpm, 99% accuracy typing
    Poof!

  10. #9885
    I can type very fast, but there's no way I can do 3,000 words in a sitting consistently. I envy that.

  11. #9886
    Vagrant Story
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    I long-ago decided that when I stopped having fun doing anything that I'd stop doing it that same day.
    If only that worked for paying bills, filing taxes, and going to the dentist!

    Quote Originally Posted by Salis
    I can type very fast, but there's no way I can do 3,000 words in a sitting consistently. I envy that.
    I think it all depends on how long the sitting is. If you forbid yourself to unsit until 3000 words are written, you'll find ways to make those words appear faster or you'll go crazy. Nobody said they had to be printworthy (that's what revision is for).
    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.


  12. #9887
    Back from the dead lucidzfl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salis View Post
    I can type very fast, but there's no way I can do 3,000 words in a sitting consistently. I envy that.
    For what its worth, I've set myself a very explicit schedule of

    Plan one day,
    Write the next.

    I literally take one full day to nothing but think about what I'm going to write, and figure out whats going to happen. The next day I write it.

    I may write 3000-5000 in a sitting but its every other day.
    Poof!

  13. #9888
    Over 9000!!!!!!! Elidibus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    I long-ago decided that when I stopped having fun doing anything that I'd stop doing it that same day.
    The advice in here just keeps getting better and better! I love this place!

    :-)
    Y/A Dystopian Coming Soon!

    Website: CWT Studios


  14. #9889
    Rare Writer Pokemon Akuma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    I long-ago decided that when I stopped having fun doing anything that I'd stop doing it that same day.
    It's all right, officer, Uncle Jim endorsed this gross string of hedonism.

    Me? Write pokemon erotica? Surely you've mistaken me for someone else. . .

    "'That’s it, Akuma,' the video game murmurs. 'We love you long time.'

    'Squirtle, squirtle.' Whispers the young man."

    --Rllgthunder

  15. #9890
    Whore for genre HConn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Schneider View Post
    Is that bad, and should I be cutting instead of adding?
    I generally add more than I cut.
    Look for CHILD OF FIRE from Del Rey! Read a sample chapter. Hey! it's been named to Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2009 list!

    Book 2 in the Twenty Palaces series: GAME OF CAGES. or check out these sample chapters.

  16. #9891
    Back from the dead lucidzfl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Grey View Post
    If only that worked for paying bills, filing taxes, and going to the dentist!



    I think it all depends on how long the sitting is. If you forbid yourself to unsit until 3000 words are written, you'll find ways to make those words appear faster or you'll go crazy. Nobody said they had to be printworthy (that's what revision is for).
    I definitely do not force myself to sit there until the words appear.

    I actually will typically start writing and then force myself to stop because I either need to eat, or I feel guilty about ignoring my wife, etc etc.

    It just so happens that I usually take about 2 hours to write. And that produces 2,000 to 3,000 words.

    I could probably write all day if the wine held out
    Poof!

  17. #9892
    Where did I put me specs? euclid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Schneider View Post
    When editing a finished ms.

    I keep saying as I read, I need to expand on this It should have more info.

    Is that bad, and should I be cutting instead of adding?
    Surely, that depends on lots of factors. If expansion is required, expand, where reduction is advisable, reduce. There can't be a simple answer to this question. My current rewrite/edit resulted in the following words added/subtracted from Jul 19 onwards: 1495, 1472, -346, 149, -40, -269, 4, 570, 259, 62, 105, -411, -158, 0, 205, 266, 401, -76, -238, -1378, -2531, 2112, 359, -105 etc.

    You get the idea!
    My web site http://www.jjtoner.net/
    I'm on Twitter @jjtoner_YA



  18. #9893
    practical experience, FTW
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    Unc Jim and friends,

    I love my thesaurus because I love every little word in my WIP. I always take Thesaurius with me on my daily journey to nowhere with butt-in-chair (BIC). Should I go alone? Tell him I gotta fly solo when I'm amassing a first draft? Is my best friend dragging me down? Should we break up?

  19. #9894
    Sheriff Bullwinkle the Poet says: RJK's Avatar
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    I only use the thesaurus when I've found I've repeated a word too close to the first occurrence. I don't bother changing the word until I begin my editing process. Occasionally, I will use it to replace a word to make the sentence stronger or make it stand out, but, again, during the editing process. I can't remember when I last reached for it while writing the first draft.

  20. #9895
    practical experience, FTW Krintar's Avatar
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    I frequently use a thesaurus or dictionary, regardless of which stage of the writing I'm in.
    This is because I frequently have a sense that "there is a word which fits perfectly here, but it's hiding on the edge of memory."
    If it takes more than a minute or two to find the word, though, I tend to just throw [] in the space and keep moving. Sometimes it comes to me on the next read-through, sometimes I think long and hard about it later... sometimes the entire sentence/paragraph/chapter vanishes and it becomes a moot point.

    (I have this inkling that Uncle Jim will say some variation on "whatever works for you.")

  21. #9896
    Esteemed thinker Calliopenjo's Avatar
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    I use thesaurus, dictionary, bing.com, and ask.com for variations of a word or for that word that can't come to mind. I know it's gotta be out there somewhere. When all else fails ___ takes its place until a critter reads through it and they find the word in the form of "Did you mean. . ." and the bell rings violently as I'm shaking my head.

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

  22. #9897
    Coming soon to a nightmare near you Requiescat In Pace
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by lucidzfl View Post
    lol fair enough. I'm not upset at my 140 wpm, 99% accuracy typing
    Sheesh. I can do about 45-60 words a minute. Due to an injury when I was thirteen my right middle finger is unusable to type, so I never learned the correct way. But for me, the 17 days in the hospital, had it not been for the use of my brother's laptop I may have only gotten half the 3,500 words I did get. Though I may have ended up with more towards my novel. Longhand I might write faster, but my hand cramps up fast. Although, when I write longhand I think I tend to stay focused on one project more. It's so easy to have a little idea and open a new page, but then I know I'll have to retype it later. While I was in there I started two hospital-based short-stories. Wonder where I got the idea for those? Ha-ha
    ~Steven Michael Sarber


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  23. #9898
    Absolute sagebrush Ken Schneider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smsarber View Post
    Sheesh. I can do about 45-60 words a minute. Due to an injury when I was thirteen my right middle finger is unusable to type, so I never learned the correct way. But for me, the 17 days in the hospital, had it not been for the use of my brother's laptop I may have only gotten half the 3,500 words I did get. Though I may have ended up with more towards my novel. Longhand I might write faster, but my hand cramps up fast. Although, when I write longhand I think I tend to stay focused on one project more. It's so easy to have a little idea and open a new page, but then I know I'll have to retype it later. While I was in there I started two hospital-based short-stories. Wonder where I got the idea for those? Ha-ha
    I don't do the conventional type of typing. I've figured out my own system over time. My wife types the right way, she she says I still type faster than she does. But, alas, none of that matters, it's getting the right words down on paper. Ten words a minute, or one hundred, fast or slow, doesn't the writer make.
    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."

  24. #9899
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    If something is keeping you from writing -- put it aside.

    Why are you using the thesaurus? Is it a way to turn avoid composition?

    Try this: When you're convinced the word isn't quite right, just type a near-enough word, then type XXX then continue with the composition.

    For the last twenty minutes of the day, search on XXX with your Thesaurus in hand.

    (Oh, and when you bring out your thesaurus, bring out your dictionary too: make sure you know what the words mean. Really sure. Once I was reading some unpublished fantasy, and came to a bit where our hero had just met a young lady, and ... put a medallion on her cervix. I knew instantly what had happened. The author had wanted a fancy-sounding word for 'neck.' And 'cervix' does, indeed, mean 'neck.' As in 'cervical vertebrae.' But, generally speaking, one doesn't get near a beautiful young lady's cervix until you and she are very good friends.)

  25. #9900
    Esteemed thinker Calliopenjo's Avatar
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    Smile

    I don't know about anybody else, but when the word walk(as an example) appears in the same paragraph more than once, I need to find another word. Or that "thing" that you know has a word attached to it, but you can't think of it until somebody else gives you that word. That word may not fit but it gives me a starting point to look in the thesaurus for the word that I am looking for.

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

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