View Full Version : Looking for a local (Southern California) writing partner

01-14-2011, 09:32 PM
Just signed up, and it looks like everyone has found enough betas/mentors etc, so I'll start my own thread and see what happens.

First of all, I was inspired by reading through the transcript of the story conference found here:


Now that was the ultimate writer's group! And my favorite movie to boot!

Now I know few people who can devote an entire week to story development like these guys did, but I've stopped going to various writer's groups and have decided to try instead to find local writer(s) available to meet regularly (in library, starbucks - wherever) to brainstorm solutions for various problems I have in my story, while I do equal time for theirs. I'm looking for actual brainstorming sessions. Not the usual "read a chapter and e-mail a critique the next day" arrangement.

I'm working on what I hope is the final rewrite for my first novel.
(it is a novelization of an earlier screenplay)
It is an epic fantasy, and I do have an agent, but it is a major rewrite, and I find myself spending weeks reediting the same chapter, and basically working it to death. It seems I could use some fresh eyes and new perspectives.

Now local collaboration isn't absolutely necessary, but if the ideal collaborator is nowhere close by, I'd like to be able to bounce ideas back and forth using all the latest realtime modes of communication, without a 24-48 hour gap for an email response.

My work?
Epic fantasy. I'm shooting for the next Lord Of The Rings. Hey, isn't everyone?!
It's written in the Victorian style, with a smattering "wherefores" and "whence"s, and nice technical footnotes describing aspects of the faerie world in a very scholarly manner. (I love dense footnotes).

What I can help best my partner with:
1. Phrasing things better or more dramatically, or with more period realism.
(I read countless victorian and elizabethan classics as research)
2. Fixing plot holes or cheesy scenes in: Fantasy, sci-fi, horror, thriller, romance, historical.
3. Historical or scientific accuracy for sci-fi. (or at least giving it the appearance of accuracy)

What I probably wouldn't be too much help with:
Generating new ideas regarding vampires, werewolves, zombies, dragon tamers, dragon riders, or faeries wandering around in modern times.

Any takers? Swap samples?

01-15-2011, 06:02 AM
I live in South California! Except I am at an age where I cannot do these things, however.

01-21-2011, 06:45 AM
Where perzac'ly are you? I'm in the Lancaster area, about an hour north of Los Angeles. Tho I live quite a ways out of town, and I can't do the gas to gallivant about.

I've done the "bang it back and forth in a chatroom" and "write it kinda on the spot" thing before... I'm not all that good on original ideas, but I can extrapolate unto the far horizons. And I'm a pretty good line-editor, including keeping the original "voice".

I'm also at the point where I need a fresh set of eyes on my space opera/soft-SF Epic (non-Earth universe). Been having trouble finding someone who groks character-driven (which it is, somewhat character-sadistic in the vein of Bujold) vs event-driven (which it is not). My main problem is that I write too sparely and tend to leave stuff out. I generally know what's wrong, but having stared at it too long, need feedback to help generate the fixes. And I've found I don't write without feedback. :(

I'm not thrilled with the usual crit-group approach; seems to me there's too much of the blind leading the halt and the lame. I've also seen that culture of "the critter is always right" destroy budding authors' confidence in their own "voice". Brainstorming is more useful to me.

Anyway, here I am, now what? :)

02-02-2011, 09:06 PM
Hey - thanks for the reply.
I've had two colds in a row, and also I could not find the instant email notification until I logged in today, so I had no idea anyone had responded!

I haven't read Bujold, but I'm pretty big on character too. Not much patience with books where the characters are interchangable - with everyone, male and female, talking like a witty version of the author.

Got gas money for meeting halfway? At least for the first time?

And even better than chat rooms, have you seen etherpad yet?

http://typewith.me is the site I use. But there are others.

None of them cost anything.

Perfect for brainstorming, or for editing.

One of us pastes in a portion of our story, and all the changes and edits can be seen in real time (and then changed back to the original if necessary)

Maybe swap a paragraph or two, to see if we're on the same page?

02-02-2011, 11:55 PM
No problem, I'd plumb forgot about this myself :) (welcome to my messaging world... where everyone's words go in one eyeball and out the other!)

Right now unnecessary gas can get a little rough (down to L.A. and back is $50+ in my truck) but other means... try anything once....

I'd never heard of that collab tool but turns out there are a bunch (http://etherpad.org/public-sites/) using it, and after testing several, I found this one is the fastest (which still ain't sayin' much): http://titanpad.com/
The newer version sites are all slower! :(

I've got a fragment over yonder (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=203145&goto=newpost) that's tolerably typical for my first drafts, if rather meaningless by its nekkid self... dunno if it tells you anything. :) And as a sample edit, here's my quick-and-dirty job (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5692988&postcount=1735) on a fragment someone posted.


Come to look at the calendar, since I've got to go into town (defined as Lancaster) this week anyway, this Thurs. night I'm going to try to hit the linux user grope (http://avlug.org/) (where we seldom discuss linux!) tho that's still a fair ways from L.A.

02-03-2011, 04:07 AM
The site won't let me access any of the links you included.
Says I need a password.
Well I have a password, otherwise I wouldn't be writing this.
Don't know what's wrong.
Maybe you could paste them in a Titanpad page and send me the link?

02-03-2011, 06:47 AM
Oh, you mean the AW site. Yeah, you need a password for the Share Your Work section, I think it's "vista" (without quotes) for the SF/F SYW. That's so you can post your work but not have it crawled by indexing robots, thus preserving your first publication rights. If you have cookies active you'll only need to input the password once, except for when it loses its cookies (as it does occasionally).

All the public areas of these forums get indexed.

02-03-2011, 06:47 PM
I found the links, spent 30 minutes on a reply, then hit submit, then the site told me I wasn't logged in. All my text was gone.
Except I was logged in.
Anyway, I'll install something in Firefox to prevent this from happening again, and reconstruct my insightful message after I calm down.

02-03-2011, 07:57 PM
Argh, that sucks! Yeah, I've learned with these forum sites that it's generally good policy to copy/paste any complicated replies into Notepad before hitting Submit, because there's no telling what the damned things will do. This one is a little cranky compared to some others that use the same forum software. OTOH multiquote-reply (the " button next to the Quote button) works here, which it doesn't on some others. -- Do make sure you've got cookies allowed for this site, or it WILL persistently log you out. I just let SeaMonkey's password manager handle the login, beyond that, and have the site auto-login on each visit. Makes life easier.

Sometimes if you just hit BACK you'll get your reply box back, text and all. At least in SeaMonkey, which is a bit smarter about usability than Firefox. (IMO, but I hate Firefox's being dumbed down like it is. I don't like SM much either, but it annoys me less than IE. Tho the Moz family's rendering engine has hideously bad coding zen.) Strongly recommend PrefBar (http://prefbar.tuxfamily.org/) to make the stupid thing more usable, too!

BTW when it happens with Moz/TBird/SM emails and you didn't save the draft before sending, look in your TEMP directory, sometimes there'll be a file named somecrap.eml that's the body of your message.

Anyway, look forward to reading your insights, if the durn things would stop running away like that... I know I'm scary, but geez... <g>

02-07-2011, 09:28 AM
almost over my flu
should be able to retype everything tomorrow and get you on the road to your Hugo

02-07-2011, 09:39 AM
Enough of the being sick thing already! Seriously, you oughta edit that out of your manuscript. <g>

Now as to the road to my Hugo... should I invest in a set of tire chains? :eek:

Get rested, get well, talk to you then.

02-08-2011, 04:11 AM
Hey. I posted this also in the other thread, so I can reach my quota of 50 reviews.
If I were to review that fragment, I would say that it reads smoothly, like a pro would do.
(except I wouldn't have the constructions of
"---doesn't mean ..."
"---diverting there ..."
quite so close together. I'd try to find a different way to portray the second time that Gadari is interrupted.

Then I would address what you said about writing sparely and leaving things out...
And then I would say that my philosophy is that every scene needs to create an emotion or a mood.
Epecially with SF/F.
If I pick up a book because it's sci-fi or fantasy, I want to see something cool in every scene.
Something techy.
Does Azarra's office have a giant window or viewscreen -- an awesome or sublime view of stars, or of a transparent steel building, or of a distant fleet in orbit, looking like bright constellation?
Is the air stale? Did the climate AI lose all its prefs overnight and now it's freezing?
Is he sick, exhausted, in great mood, or frightened before the ambassador comes in?
So anyway, you can see what most of my reviews would be like.

What I'm really looking for, however, is to brainstorm on scenes that have not been written yet!

One problem I'd like to work on some day is that I don't think my villain has enough scenes in book 2.
Bear in mind, Sauron had no scenes at all in Lord Of The Rings.
But I want my baddie to have a little more presence that that.

02-08-2011, 05:25 AM
Hey. I posted this also in the other thread, so I can reach my quota of 50 reviews.

If you're as yakkity-yakky as most folks around here, reaching 50 is no problem!

When I added up all my posts (that I have rough numbers for) everywhere across BBSs, forums, Usenet (crap, I forgot Usenet first time I added this up) ... I'm at somewhere upward of 60,000 posts over 17 years online! Some people never shut up. :D

What I'm really looking for, however, is to brainstorm on scenes that have not been written yet!

I'm not much on creating from scratch, but give me a bean and I'll grow Jack's 300-Story Beanstalk, complete with a viewing level and a railgun and Giant Tours on the top flower. Er, floor. :) (I don't know what the railgun is about. Maybe for killing rival giants from other gardens.) My Ridiculously Overactive Node of Extrapolation staged a hostile takeover of my own writing early on!!

And I need brainstorming myself; it's the fertilizer for my beanstalk patch. Without it, I tend not to write at all.

One problem I'd like to work on some day is that I don't think my villain has enough scenes in book 2.
Bear in mind, Sauron had no scenes at all in Lord Of The Rings.
But I want my baddie to have a little more presence that that.

Darth Vader only had 8 minutes onscreen (half of it just standing there) in the original Star Wars (I know; I timed it). Yet who do most people think of as the primary villain, the critical character, and who wound up being... yeah. Presence and screen time don't necessarily relate.

In my ongoing Epic, my primary baddie is mostly just a shadow presence in the first 3 books, and we don't really see him up close and personal until Book 7, which is HIS pull-all-the-threads-together for all his machinations that have touched (or mangled) other lives in 1-2-3. He's getting old, time is running out... Besides, it fit so nicely with where everyone else had arrived over the years... :evil It's still not his story, but it makes everyone else hop up and down entertainingly whilst dealing with it. :D

Oh, I just discovered a nasty bug in the preview mechanism here... if you miss an unmatched font tag whilst cleaning up old fonts (they make a mess when quotebacks are split to reply by paragraph), it will delete your words that happened to fall outside the tag. Fortunately it only ate about 6 words so it was easy to fix, but still... dumb thing...