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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Ken Schneider

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Jim, Working on red pencil revisions, and additions, changes.

Is the possibility of striking 25,000 words of 85,000 story abnormal?

I haven't run into this much removal of material before.

I do feel that the additions and changes are better.
 

James D. Macdonald

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Abnormal? Not at all. If there are 25,000 words that aren't the right words, cut 'em and replace 'em with the right words.

Our novel, Groogleman (in French: la nuit des hommogres): at one point we cut everything after Chapter One and rewrote fresh from there. (I may still have the other book that it could-have-been around here somewhere.)
 

Ken Schneider

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Thanks.

My copy of, Land of mist and snow, shipped today, can't wait to read it.

Back to work, Best everyone.
 

James D. Macdonald

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I hope you like it.

Meanwhile:

Y'all know the three-point-plot outline:

1.) Get the hero up a tree.
2.) Throw rocks at him.
3.) Get him out of the tree.

And the seven-point plot outline:

1). Introduce the main/viewpoint character
2). Present him with a problem.
3). In a particular setting.
4). The character tries to solve the problem...
5). And fails.
6). The character tries to solve the problem again...
7). And receives validation.

Well, here's a very detailed working-out of those general plot outlines:

http://www.miskatonic.org/dent.html

Y'all can try writing a story based on that plot outline as your Christmas Challenge. As always, the challenge is to actually submit the story you wrote to an appropriate paying market.

The Post Office is closed on Christmas, and the mail is nuts in the days before ... shall we say the deadline for mailing your completed story (in accordance with the market's guidelines) is 26 December?

(If you finish your story early, lay it aside and give it a final read-through-and-polish on Christmas Day.)
 

Sean D. Schaffer

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James D. Macdonald said:
Y'all know the three-point-plot outline:

1.) Get the hero up a tree.
2.) Throw rocks at him.
3.) Get him out of the tree.

And the seven-point plot outline:

1). Introduce the main/viewpoint character
2). Present him with a problem.
3). In a particular setting.
4). The character tries to solve the problem...
5). And fails.
6). The character tries to solve the problem again...
7). And receives validation.


I'm pretty sure this is not what you intended by your post, but a question arises for me here. Which of these plot outlines do you recommend? I'm always wanting to improve my abilities within the Craft, and so this multi-point plot outline intrigues me.
 

James D. Macdonald

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I intended the third, last, longest and most detailed plot outline; the one at miskatonic.org. Not because I think that paint-by-numbers, cookie-cutter storytelling is a good thing to aspire to, but rather for the same reason that one might do scales if one intends to become a concert pianist.

Consider it a wordgame.

Consider also doing the crossword in your daily newspaper every day. If your daily newspaper doesn't run a crossword, get a book of crossword puzzles.
 
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James D. Macdonald

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Sean D. Schaffer

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James D. Macdonald said:
If you look around you can also find an 8-Point Plot Structure (Stasis, Trigger, Quest, Surprise, Critical Choice,Climax, Reversal, Resolution), a Nine-point Plot Structure, (apparently from Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee) and probably any number of other numbered plot structures.


Cool. Thanks for your help with this. I'll be sure to take a look at those later on.

But like you pointed out, cookie-cutter writing is not what you're wanting people to aspire to. Even so, this basic idea of plotting a story will definitely come in handy for me at a later time.

Thanks again.

:)
 

Lilybiz

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Hey, I took a look at my WIP (just began the third draft) and it's working within that 7-point outline! I'm pleased with myself for that, and with my MC for being such a good girl and screwing up in the right places.

As Ian says, we don't want cookie-cutter, but whether readers know it or not they want structure. Maybe "closure" is a better word. If things don't fall into place, it doesn't feel right. I read a book recently called "Le Divorce" by Diane Johnson. It's well-written. She knows how to turn a phrase, show not tell, etc. It was entertaining. Yet there was a plot about stolen property that never got solved, and to me it was extremely frustrating to come to the end of the book and not see the bad guys get their comeuppance.

(I don't care if bad guys sometimes don't get their comeuppance in the real world. That's nonfiction.)
 

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James D. Macdonald

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To what should be no one's surprise:


1061494906_CWINDOWSDesktopplot.jpg

You're a Plot writer!

Take this quiz!


Quizilla | Join | Make a Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code
 

Allynegirl

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James D. Macdonald said:
I intended the third, last, longest and most detailed plot outline; the one at miskatonic.org. Not because I think that paint-by-numbers, cookie-cutter storytelling is a good thing to aspire to, but rather for the same reason that one might do scales if one intends to become a concert pianist.

Consider it a wordgame.

Consider also doing the crossword in your daily newspaper every day. If your daily newspaper doesn't run a crossword, get a book of crossword puzzles.

Fun! :D So far. Got 1st 1500 words and 2nd 1500 words done in 1 day. A record for me! :hooray:

Now if only I can finish this story and work on my novel with the same interest and speed. :Shrug:
 

kybudman

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I Don't Know If I Agree Or Not

It says (code won't copy into BB Code) I am a character/dialogue writer.

My work IS character driven, but plot-centric. I guess it's ok for a one dimensional test. Or, at least a yuck.
 

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Hmmm. Can't answer questions 4 or 5 because I've never shown anything I've written to anyone else.
Guess this makes me a Paranoid Writer?
 

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James D Macdonald said:
regardless of whether you use roof top or rooftop) the publisher will give you a copy editor who will change it to house style.


LOLOLOLOLOL AaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggHHHhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHA!

Thanks a million. I needed a good hoot!

Sorry. I'm new and have been reading this thread since page 1. Back to the archives for me (I'm at page 67). Just had to break in, say Hi and let Uncle Jim know this was the finest bit of humor writing I've ever read.

Rick

1061494473_pnarrative.jpg
 
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James D. Macdonald

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kybudman said:
Hey, UJ!

I was wondering how the book signings and radio gigs are going. What is an effective benchmark for success at events like this? Just wondering.


The radio interview went pretty well; the host mentioned the title of the book several times. It's archived in streaming form here: http://www.nhpr.org/node/11869

The first signing went well; the bookstore had 24 copies and sold 12 of them. (We also got 40% off on anything in the store. Hoo hah, Christmas shopping!) Folks were coming by and chatting all evening.

The second signing didn't go so well. Of course it was also bucketing down rain, there was thunder and lightning, and 50-60 MPH wind gusts. If we didn't have to be there we wouldn't have gone either. The bookstore had 14 copies and two sold. On the plus side, we each got a $25 gift certificate to that bookstore. (Hoo hah! More Christmas shopping!)

We signed remaining stock at both places, where they're now out with Autographed stickers.

A benchmark for success is Anyone At All Shows Up.
 

Ken Schneider

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I'm hoping that I can send my copy to NH for an autograph?

When I finish reading it, that is.

For the rest of the fish in this pond.

Get your copy of The Lands of Mists and Snow!

I've found it to be an excellent read, and I've learned something about writing in the process of reading the book.
 
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Hanukkah sameach!

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