Learn Writing with Uncle Jim, Volume 1

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

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K_Woods

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oswann said:
Dickens, in his day, would have been read aloud too. Imagine hearing the book and not reading it and you have an idea of why some of the devices like repetition are used.

Os.

I do that and still get an "Adventurers" vibe from the repetition. (If you're wondering what I mean, click here.) It doesn't sound natural to me at all.

Then again, I think repetition might just be a sore spot. I can't think of any examples off the top of my head that wowed me.

Neeli -- I wouldn't be surprised if that is the origin of "Ferengi." It seems oddly appropriate, even if it is a slur.
 

Dawno

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Hi folks - just a short off topic visit. I mentioned this thread in my blog tonight and had to check the first post to see when the thread began for that mention. Did you all know that Learn Writing with Uncle Jim is going to have it's 3rd anniversary soon? Yep, Nov. 13, 2003 was the day of the first post.

Cheers to Uncle Jim and the rest of you! Have a Happy Anniversary!
 

James D. Macdonald

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I posted this elsewhere, but I think I'll repost it here....

=================

Why are you thinking of Amazon Shorts and ezines? Isn't The Paris Review taking submissions any more? How about Harper's? Woman's Day? F&SF? Cemetary Dance? Hitchcock? Where do you find the fiction that you yourself read?

If you don't have a copy of Writer's Market go out right now and get one.

Aim high, people. You won't know if you're good enough to play in the big leagues until you've submitted your stuff there. You should work down to the 1/4-cent-a-word and 4theluv places. You won't work your way up from them.

Fast, Easy, Good. Choose two.
 

Lilybiz

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Congratulations, Uncle Jim, and many thanks.

I started reading this thread in March of '05. I set myself a rule that I wasn't allowed to post until I'd read it all, so I don't know when I first posted. But to call it a thread isn't quite right. It's more of a school--its letters are BIC.

Thanks to this school, I spend more time writing than I do here at the Water Cooler (even though I really like it here). The second draft of my novel is finished, and while it sat I did more research and took more notes. To celebrate NaNoWriMo I'm beginning draft three this week.

B!I!C!

Thanks, Uncle Jim, and happy LWWUJ anniversary.
 

picnichampa

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Thanks Uncle Jim

I've finally read through all this thread.
Thank you Uncle Jim and everyone, reading this has kept me busy for weeks and I've learnt lots.
Err... suppose I've got to do the exercises now?
 

bsolah

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This has been an invaluable thread.

And I've been meaning to get a copy of the Writer's Market for a while. I really need it now because I'm running out of markets to sub my stories too. It seems horror markets are dying everyday. The solution, all the people who sub to mags ought to buy them too.
 

Allynegirl

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Happy 3rd Anniversary LWWUJ :partyguy: I have found loads of valuable information and wonderful inspiration in this thread. Thanks y'all and especially UJ!
 

picnichampa

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Can I ask a question of UJ and the rest?

My (rather cheesy) WIP is typical fantasy stuff; swordfights are obligatory. When I try to write a fight scene, I suddenly realise I have no idea what I'm talking about. How do people research the fight scenes? There are no evening classes in sword fighting locally...

I'm itching to get a slingshot in there as well.

Any ideas to make it sound authentic? Thanks.
 

Lilybiz

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picnichampa said:
Can I ask a question of UJ and the rest?

My (rather cheesy) WIP is typical fantasy stuff; swordfights are obligatory. When I try to write a fight scene, I suddenly realise I have no idea what I'm talking about. How do people research the fight scenes? There are no evening classes in sword fighting locally...

I'm itching to get a slingshot in there as well.

Any ideas to make it sound authentic? Thanks.

When I needed to write a swordfight, I was lucky to have these guys http://www.swordplayla.com/ nearby. I think there are videos on the site that you can watch. They staged my fight for me. If/when I ever publish my novel, they will have HUGE THANKS in the acknowledgements, links on my website, love and kisses, etc. etc.

Without local sword fighting studios, you might rent swashbuckling movies and take notes. If you want terminology, that's googleable. Also, I seem to remember library books on fencing and swordplay that give diagrams of stances, types of thrusts, parries, etc. Can't remember a title or author at this point, however. Maybe someone else does.
 

pdr

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Try...

the Story Research Board has a tactics thread and we have various experts in various forms of fighting who are AW members and will help you out.
 

James D. Macdonald

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I was an AFLA fencer (foil and epee), and fought broadsword and mace in the SCA. During my Navy days I'd sit with my back to the wall in waterfront taverns, observing the degradation of my fellow man, and taking mental notes during the fights.

What I can say about describing swordfights is -- keep it brief, and don't use technical language. Who the hey among the general readership will know what a parry in quarte looks like? Or exactly what a coupe is?

Later on I'll see if I can find one of my swordfighting scenes and type it in, with commentary.

Like anything else: research. Find someone who's an expert and run your scene past him or her.

Make sure the fight scene advances plot and reveals character.

And don't bore the reader.
 

oswann

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I geared myself up for a fight scene between my main character and one of the suspects in my book which ended up with both of them having a laughing fit. It's not boring and the book advances just as it would have done if they had socked each other.

Os.
 

picnichampa

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Thanks very much everyone, that's really helpful.

Uncle Jim? I'd like to see that swordfighting scene and commentary sometime, that'd be great.
And I'll try not to bore the reader any more than usual...
 

Lilybiz

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picnichampa said:
Thanks very much everyone, that's really helpful.

Uncle Jim? I'd like to see that swordfighting scene and commentary sometime, that'd be great.
And I'll try not to bore the reader any more than usual...

I would, too, especially with your comments.
 

SeanDSchaffer

Dawno said:
Hi folks - just a short off topic visit. I mentioned this thread in my blog tonight and had to check the first post to see when the thread began for that mention. Did you all know that Learn Writing with Uncle Jim is going to have it's 3rd anniversary soon? Yep, Nov. 13, 2003 was the day of the first post.

Cheers to Uncle Jim and the rest of you! Have a Happy Anniversary!


And in the almost two years that I've been here, this thread has been a wonderful resource in my own writing. Thanks, Uncle Jim, for giving your time and your ability to help newbie writers such as myself become more professional as we endeavor to make careers for ourselves in the writing field. (And please forgive me for the long sentence.)
 

PeeDee

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picnichampa said:
My (rather cheesy) WIP is typical fantasy stuff; swordfights are obligatory. When I try to write a fight scene, I suddenly realise I have no idea what I'm talking about. How do people research the fight scenes? There are no evening classes in sword fighting locally...

Yes. Contact John Clements, Director of ARMA and go around their web-site. Apart from the handiness of their site, John's also a very friendly person whom I've talked to a couple of times now (I'm doing an article on proper fantasy sword fights) who very definitely knows his stuff.

Just make sure that what you're getting your inspiration, your'e not getting it from movies and video games, or poorly done books. Otherwise, you're getting out on a tenuous limb.

Happy 3rd Anniversary! Still enjoying doing this thread, Unca Jim?
 

picnichampa

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Thanks Peedee, great website.

I'll contact Mr JC when I've got something better to run past him, thanks.

Video clips are very useful. Those guys move really fast! And it's more effort than I'd realised - one chap is doing some serious grunting. How on earth did they keep that up for the length of a battle?

Looks like great fun, I'm definitely going to have to try harder to find classes.
 

Dru

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That, and there's the whole incentive of the whole gang of other guys trying to hack you apart. Adrenaline is an amazing thing. Keep in mind that the infantry (or levies/militias) was/is almost always grist for the war-machine mill. There's a big difference between being the commander of troops and leading the charge. Braveheart moments non-withstanding.
 

Milton

Help! My WIP turns out to be very heavy on background, with several tribes of people who have important backstories. Can anyone remind me of books that successfully presented tons of background? I'm at a loss about how to work it in.

--Milton
 

Nangleator

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Lord of the Rings.

Early action, engaging characters and attractive prose affords you the right to go off on tangents.
 
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