Let's keep this open-ended for now, but discussions from earlier today have indicated that there would be interest in a space to support one another's writing endeavours.
Ideas for how such support could manifest are welcome.
Other threads exist for this purpose, of course, and there was an 'anonymous writing' clinic run a few years ago, but a clean slate will probably do us all a power of good. Besides, I think the emphasis should be less on shared extracts (although I'm certainly not ruling it out) and more on discussions of discipline, technique, achievements, ideas and so forth.
Perhaps the endgame is some kind of collective, perhaps it's just a way of allowing us disparate souls to grow happier with our writing. We shall see.
(fwiw I think the protocol should be that anyone can introduce themselves and their writing at any time, so long as we don't then ignore those who've been posting beforehand.)
― imago, Wednesday, 4 October 2017 19:52 (five years ago) link
(is it fiction only?)
― mark s, Wednesday, 4 October 2017 19:56 (five years ago) link
I wrote ILB Fiction Writing Club then deleted the word Fiction because, thinking about it, non-fiction is writing too
― imago, Wednesday, 4 October 2017 19:59 (five years ago) link
yr thinking was correct and good
― mark s, Wednesday, 4 October 2017 20:03 (five years ago) link
― imago, Monday, 9 October 2017 13:35 (five years ago) link
"I think the emphasis should be less on shared extracts (although I'm certainly not ruling it out) and more on discussions of discipline, technique, achievements, ideas and so forth. "
On board for this and the general idea of the thread, but my interest lies mostly in what you wrote ^^ here.
― Le Bateau Ivre, Monday, 9 October 2017 13:38 (five years ago) link
This seems good. I prob wouldn't post actual writing itt but personally I'm happy enough to read people's stuff and exchange feedback, on a reciprocal basis or otherwise. Might take me a week or two at times but as a general thing I would be okay with doing this.
One lecture into the masters I'm doing I can tell it's going to be a really good thing - I need to learn how to create my own deadlines and respond to them, but the level to which I get things done and their quality improves hugely due to deadlines set by uni and the fear of showing awful work. I wrote and edited a story in the last seven days which feels like one of the best things I've done. That's after months of much slower progress. In a given week we are reading three pieces of published fiction and three pieces of fiction from people in the class, and critiquing all of these, then there's usually one or two writing assignments as well.
I dunno how feasible it'd be to set up these kind of routines for yourself but I already feel like I'm analysing writing so much that it feeds into the reading I do for my own enjoyment as well.
― Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 9 October 2017 13:49 (five years ago) link
Yes, this thread is a good idea. One of my favorite things about ILX is the extent to which it has consistently reified professional writing as an actual thing that real people do (even though I do also know IRL people who also do that actual thing). After decades of people badgering me about it, I feel like I'm finally on the cusp of getting over my shit and making a go of it myself. So, yeah, it would be good to have a dedicated place to discuss the ways in which one might make that happen.
― the scarest move i ever seen is scary move 4 (Old Lunch), Monday, 9 October 2017 13:53 (five years ago) link
I actually started a secret I Love Writing board a few years ago and neglected to invite anyone to it. It's probably still there.
― Matt DC, Monday, 9 October 2017 16:48 (five years ago) link
full boardname: i love writing except when it's by you
― mark s, Monday, 9 October 2017 16:49 (five years ago) link
I could invite people who express and interest and keep it on 77 rules.
― Matt DC, Monday, 9 October 2017 16:50 (five years ago) link
So I've got this one piece I've been castigating myself for not shopping around--but the idea before attempting was to deliberately hold fire, try to get enough distance on it for more perspective (than certain published thingies that look so or just a bit wrong now). And! Just a cpuple days ago, I woke up knowing that the ending was wrong. Took a look, and it was, still is (pretty sure, though haven't looked today...)It's more intentionally self-revealing than almost anything else submitted, which makes it harder, maybe. I might just ditch it---who cares about more Creative Nonfiction for a mostly imaginary audience---though think some others could relate; it seems like one of those why-has-nobody-ever-written-about-this-befores, though surely someone has. But not *my* experience of it.
― dow, Monday, 9 October 2017 17:21 (five years ago) link
I improved the ending, but also (and this is what I thought when waking up) realized it really wasn't necessary, though without it the memoir just stops, abruptly, but at a good point (and you know about how overly contrived a lot of endings are).
― dow, Monday, 9 October 2017 17:26 (five years ago) link
my sister sent me this:
The weapons-grade anti-health diet that kept Patricia Highsmith alive and writing for 74 years:Novelist Patricia Highsmith ate the same thing for virtually every meal: bacon and fried eggs. She began each writing session with a stiff drink – “not to perk her up”, according to her biographer, Andrew Wilson, “but to reduce her energy levels, which veered towards the manic”. Then she would sit on her bed surrounded by cigarettes, coffee, a doughnut and a saucer of sugar, the intention being “to avoid any sense of discipline and make the act of writing as pleasurable as possible.”
Novelist Patricia Highsmith ate the same thing for virtually every meal: bacon and fried eggs. She began each writing session with a stiff drink – “not to perk her up”, according to her biographer, Andrew Wilson, “but to reduce her energy levels, which veered towards the manic”. Then she would sit on her bed surrounded by cigarettes, coffee, a doughnut and a saucer of sugar, the intention being “to avoid any sense of discipline and make the act of writing as pleasurable as possible.”
We can discuss diet if anyone wants to -- can writing be done w/o caffeine? -- but the most provocative idea here (relevant to the practice of writing itself, rather than its necessary conditions) is: “to avoid any sense of discipline and make the act of writing as pleasurable as possible”
― mark s, Wednesday, 18 October 2017 13:03 (five years ago) link
lol the rituals are madness. the last two good drafts i wrote, which felt like a real relief and return after months of crap, both happened on planes. on my phone on a plane with a massive hangover. i think sometimes that sort of lowness that can happen after a v sociable few days is conducive to good writing for me.
do people write with alcohol? i don't really - i feel like i drink enough at weekends and my writing evenings are mon/tue/weds so i don't need more booze. i get good snippets of ideas or notes i take in my phone when drunk tho. (sometimes they're good lol)
tho the pressure of being in a class works well for me too. i submitted a first piece of work last week and for a first draft i'm p happy with it. it went down well, especially with the lecturer which was really good for my confidence. her comments were instructive in places about what to change, but also really strong in praise of the piece generally, that really drives me on. got a tutorial one to one about it this evening.
editing scares me. i have so many unedited first drafts. it's like the fear of pulling asunder something that's 65 per cent good, the return of total power, ie the ability to change anything once again, the idea that all the original work is for nothing. of course i know that you don't have to edit it all, and it's not that i'm precious about the original thing, more just that i find it maddening to know what to take out and what to put in. i am really hoping to get better at learning what is missing in a 6/10 first draft. starting tonight hopefully.
we've been talking a lot about character defining plot, in my class, and while i've always known it to be a thing people say is true, and believed the logic of it, i don't think i've ever understood it until this last couple of weeks. i think i prob bounced from fear of all character no plot to hurtling through the plot and in the end my story is just plot and a character with no agency.
my lecturer last week said "if you find a point in your story where you are feeling something which the character feels, and it feels real for you, the reader will feel that too" - that feels like dangerous advice wielded wrongly but it has such a ring of truth for me - like these flashes of a paragraph where i've thought "this is what this character is" - it was one of those in my submitted piece which almost everyone in the class marked out as a bit that worked. so there is some kind of logic to it all!
the other thing i'm finding, tying into mark's final quote just now is that sitting down with a blank page is madness. i don't know how people do it. for me i am having ideas as i go about my daily life, noting stuff down constantly, maybe there are three or four notes or formed paragraphs before i then sit down to write a thing about that character. i guess ymmv but when i hear fellow students anguishing about "sitting down to write" with no ideas it sounds like torture. half the thing, and i'm like 20 per cent of the way to where i want to be, seems to be honing the part of your brain that wants to give you ideas, it's like coaching a dog to bring you the paper.
― Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Wednesday, 18 October 2017 13:33 (five years ago) link
Agree that having a catalyst like a class is helpful. Corny tricks like "write something that includes the color blue" or "include a scratch and a very small person" have produced better work from me than a blank slate.
I've been writing for a living for twentymumble years, and have found I can really only produce quality work on deadline. If given a month or a year to do something, I know I will procrastinate until the very last minute. Perhaps unfortunately, I know I will probably get away with it, so there's essentially no incentive to change from an adrenaline-based work style.
For more personal writing (essays/reviews/fiction/lyrics/poetry) I don't have the same pressure. Occasionally I will take a class or join a group, if only to supply deadlines and challenges.
― looser than lucinda (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 18 October 2017 13:44 (five years ago) link
This is surely well-trodden territory but it can't be said enough that "NaNoWriMo" is the single worst name ever given to anything and whoever coined it shouldn't be encouraged, or frankly allowed, to write anything else as long as they live
― The Suite Life of Jack and Wendy (wins), Sunday, 29 October 2017 16:31 (five years ago) link
Also: is there a writing app that generates exercises like the ones in ymp's post? Feel like there must be but if there isn't this is my fortune-making idea NOBODY STEAL IT
― The Suite Life of Jack and Wendy (wins), Sunday, 29 October 2017 16:34 (five years ago) link
having ideas as i go about my daily life, noting stuff down constantly
^ this is urgent & key.
― A is for (Aimless), Sunday, 29 October 2017 18:05 (five years ago) link
Corny tricks like "write something that includes the color blue" or "include a scratch and a very small person" have produced better work from me than a blank slate.
See also: A thread where you commission a poem from ILE to examine this dynamic in detail.
― A is for (Aimless), Sunday, 29 October 2017 18:53 (five years ago) link
I pronounce it "Nanny-Knee-Moe-Why-o" for some reason, probably because I can't be bothered to read it properly. Been thinking about trying to write something longer actually, maybe I'll do it in November while not participating in naninimowhyo.
― めんどくさかった (Matt #2), Sunday, 29 October 2017 19:35 (five years ago) link
did this go anywhere - ?
― the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Tuesday, 21 November 2017 05:10 (five years ago) link
LG and I have taken it offboard, which strikes me as a good way to do it, but this should still be a good corralling point
― imago, Tuesday, 21 November 2017 08:07 (five years ago) link
how do you go from having a strong sense of w character, strong sense of place, and/or a strong sense of what you want to communicate...... to finding the plot to locate these in? this is the hardest thing for me. I’m quite good at telling stories (verbally) but struggle finding stories worth telling coming to me
can see why bernhard just had all his protagonists sit about ranting into the void
― ||||||||, Wednesday, 6 December 2017 16:19 (five years ago) link
dreams make for the best plot generators
― imago, Wednesday, 6 December 2017 16:24 (five years ago) link
some people say the more character and voice you have the less plot you need. i struggle with plot also, but i've struggled less with it when i have characters (more than one!) who have a relationship with each other and want things, maybe big existential things but also small story or scene-specific things.
― Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Wednesday, 6 December 2017 16:38 (five years ago) link
thanks, that's helpful.
earlier it also occurred to me that I didn't really understand what 'show, don't tell' actually means so I did a little research. by the end of that I'd realised I was maybe doing a bit more telling than is necessarily recommended. fine, I can work on that. I realised though that most of the 'showing' example text was.... kinda awful, even in comparison to the markedly plainer 'telling' text that these examples had for comparison. then I read donald barthelme's 'the visitor' and I was, like, there's actually quite a a lot of (albeit very skilful) 'telling' here. maybe I've read too much translated fiction, which tends to have a real plainness and flatness of affect... which I really prefer.
― ||||||||, Wednesday, 6 December 2017 22:37 (five years ago) link
Dreamt up a plot of a novel (or short story) a few days ago.
Well, I don't think this was an easy choice. Its remarkable he made that kind of thing work over and over again.
― xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 6 December 2017 22:59 (five years ago) link
The thing about 'show don't tell' is that as soon as you start thinking about it you also start noticing how many writers, including universally acknowledged canonical greats, do a fuckload of telling, so take that with a pinch of salt. But it's also something that requires a lot of skill and control, you can really tell a bad writer from the way they need to spell everything out. One line of dialogue can do more here than a whole page of explaining.
― Matt DC, Wednesday, 6 December 2017 23:11 (five years ago) link
A lot of rules like 'show, don't tell' are only really applicable as rough guidelines for traditional narrative fiction, if that. Most authors do both showing and telling, and sometimes showing can be even more of a bludgeon than just telling the reader something, particularly if it's done with clichés. "Jim got up at the same time every day. He put on his grey clothes, fastened his grey tie and ate his grey muesli" is much more annoying than just saying that Jim is a boring fuck.
|||||||| OTM about translated fiction and flatness of affect, I love that too.
― emil.y, Wednesday, 6 December 2017 23:26 (five years ago) link
isn't the thing about character that it's defined by what it lacks, and therefore by what the person in question is attempting, consciously or subconsciously, to repair over the course of the story? i.e. plot? granted that's usually the "b-plot" and the a-plot will be a rogue russian agent or a frozen leg of lamb etc etc but still - character is brought out by circumstances
― illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 6 December 2017 23:45 (five years ago) link
There's a guy I worked shifts with in a cable factory once- I later found out he was local to the island but this was at a time when I was living on the mainland myself so had no reason to make any link- and I spoke with him twice, each occasion prompted by his sitting beside me and launching into the middle of his own conversation in the brittle, determined and resigned manner of a guy long since inured to the fact that nobody was ever going to like him either on sight nor with longer exposure and what else was he to do?
He said "of course, I'm a painter decorator, painter decorator"
Twice this happened, six months apart. I don't remember anything else about the conversations, just the yorkshire singsong staccato "of-course I'm-a painter-decorator (painter-decorator)"
There was more story in his inflection of 'of course'- let alone starting with the term as if there had been a general doubt on the floor as to the fact- than I think I've ever taken from any amount of show or tell in written fiction.
Writing just frustrates me because I never feel like you (I) can come close to trapping that level or feel of character, the essential stuff.
― remember the lmao (darraghmac), Wednesday, 6 December 2017 23:47 (five years ago) link
richard ford does, i'm tellin you man
― illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 6 December 2017 23:52 (five years ago) link
and actually his plots are close to nonexistent so who knows
I will take note
― remember the lmao (darraghmac), Wednesday, 6 December 2017 23:53 (five years ago) link
have you read kevin barry's short stories deems?
A lot of rules like 'show, don't tell' are only really applicable as rough guidelines for traditional narrative fiction, if that. Most authors do both showing and telling, and sometimes showing can be even more of a bludgeon than just telling the reader something, particularly if it's done with clichés. "Jim got up at the same time every day. He put on his grey clothes, fastened his grey tie and ate his grey muesli" is much more annoying than just saying that Jim is a boring fuck.
show don't tell is about stopping people informing you of the plot minus any images or scenes. telling is always a part of any story, just a part that's overemphasised in how we might begin to write a thing.
in the above example the problem is the character, not the showing or telling. character is the big thing. once the character is working, and you believe the character, and maybe they have relationships with other characters and want things, and there's conflict between what each character wants, a lot of the rest becomes quite easy. setting scenes and place and even dialogue can seem difficult until you realise character is key, plot too can be a torment, it's all obviously always a torment, but i dunno, i've prob written some character-driven stuff for the first time after about 3/4 years of writing, in the last few months, and it's been a revelatory leap.
the only problem is i knew it to be true but didn't get it until i got it. just kinda happened by being in a class where we technically analyse things.
still miles to go before i get to the level i want to be at tho.
― Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Thursday, 7 December 2017 00:13 (five years ago) link
like i had a tutorial this week and my lecturer was like, for a few lines or whatever, "this is good telling" - it's not like telling is banned. it's inevitable.
― Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Thursday, 7 December 2017 00:14 (five years ago) link
'show don't tell' is a facile piece of advice doled out in undergraduate courses by teachers who can't be asked to explain the whys and wherefores of switching between narrative and narrative summary, and used (in my experience) by inexperienced writers who don't have a grasp of the scope of their story.
― rb (soda), Thursday, 7 December 2017 00:19 (five years ago) link
teachers who can't be asked?
seems a way of stopping people writing boring internal monologues or telling first-person stories via indirect speech. or hurtling past things which could be scenes.
if it was actually used simply as a mantra rather than the cliched title for a form of teaching which explains the whys and wherefores you mention then it might be useful to criticise it in that way,
― Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Thursday, 7 December 2017 00:23 (five years ago) link
imo the diff between fiction and eg talking to your friends or thinking is show v tell.
― Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Thursday, 7 December 2017 00:24 (five years ago) link
I've read and generally adored Kevin Barry's short work, how much of that is down to a resonance such that I know/get the detail he is either leaving in or leaving out is kind of a related point I think
― remember the lmao (darraghmac), Thursday, 7 December 2017 00:25 (five years ago) link
Eh, the example I made up was based on something I read a bit ago, and while the characters were kind of poorly-drawn my real issue was with the cliched delivery of 'showing'. I guess maybe the lesson is just "don't write in cliches", but I've always had a problem with 'show, don't tell' and it felt like a pertinent example of why you shouldn't always obey.
And yeah, of course, I wasn't saying that 'show, don't tell' is thought of as a hard rule, in fact I basically said that in my post, I was just emphasising that it also shouldn't be.
― emil.y, Thursday, 7 December 2017 00:25 (five years ago) link
I dunno if I agree completely, LocalGarda. I do think 'show don't tell' *is* used as a mantra. Often when I lead writers' workshops, summary ('telling') scenes are the first things to come under fire during critiques –– even if they're an expedient and appropriate means for moving the narrative forward. I think there's a popular style in fiction (and memoir, especially) to select key scenes and present them one right after another, as if they were in a screenplay, and with only minimal connective tissue / summary between them. It's a fine style, but it's deeply mannered, and there are a lot more ways to write narrative that use summary 'telling' to great effect.
― rb (soda), Thursday, 7 December 2017 00:33 (five years ago) link
but I also ate a buttload of cold medicine today, so I might not be entirely clear-headed on the issue
― rb (soda), Thursday, 7 December 2017 00:34 (five years ago) link
i think it's more than not writing in cliches, feels like it's about not skipping past narrative by telling people what's happening or how a person is feeling instead of allowing the space and time for a scene. i dunno, i think telling is so deeply engrained that it is massively useful and true to talk about show don't tell, in ways i am ever-realising. most of the writing cliches are more true than i originally realised but only noticed by practice, imo. i feel p strongly evangelist for some of them, and i wouldn't say the ma i'm doing is some deeply conservative homogenising force, far from it.
v real characters imo.
xxpost to soda - it prob is used as a mantra but there is a lot of truth behind it imo. i do kind of agree tho that telling is not a thing to eradicate. like as i said i think telling is inevitable. there prob should be more emphasis on how to tell well. every story needs telling. i guess i just think show don't tell initially is emphasised because telling dominates so much when someone first starts writing. telling felt v alluring to me for a long time and shedding some of that impulse has helped my stories a lot. i sense that's true in most of the other relatively inexperienced writers i'm studying with.
― Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Thursday, 7 December 2017 00:38 (five years ago) link
sorry slightly garbled post. i meant to say most of the writing cliches are more true than i originally realised, but i've only noticed this by practice.
― Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Thursday, 7 December 2017 00:40 (five years ago) link
a common thing for me with writing is to read a thing about it that has the ring of truth, but fail to understand it or practice it for many moons after, then suddenly it dawns by practice and donkey work. i think there's a show don't tell problem in writing teaching.
― Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Thursday, 7 December 2017 00:41 (five years ago) link
in most kinds of teaching IMO: basically you have to get the kid to practice their scales (or whatever) anyway, whether or not they understand why, and some of the mantras are just bullshit to help get the scales-practice happening when the why hasn't taken (and probably can't except in hindsight)
― mark s, Thursday, 7 December 2017 01:09 (five years ago) link
In my students I see a strong tendency (whether innate or as the result of previous instruction) to favor either “telling” or “showing” as the default mode of storytelling. It’s about 50/50 as a preference, and I think that a deeper conversation about pacing and the purpose of story is the best way to progress forward. What I teach, in actual practice, is that showing and telling (IME) aren’t separable nor do they exist in opposition any more than, say, major and minor scales do from each other. But if you’re a “teller,” scene work is great. And if you’re a “shower,” summary practice is essential. I’ll cop - personally - to over-showing, and realizing relatively late into my writing career that sometimes a simple “he was late to work because of the turkeys in the road” is often preferable to a long scene in which with a turkey the protagonist has been cultivating a tentative friendship with gets struck by an angry motorist who, due to the low angle of the winter sun cutting through crystal-specked air, is temporarily blinded while heading to pick up his i unappreciative ex-wife at the airport.
― rb (soda), Thursday, 7 December 2017 01:28 (five years ago) link
Fact: two years ago I spent an entire morning writing about my protagonist passing a Certain Fencepost in whose quality of lichen and state of decrepitude I invested ~2000 words. Cut it to a clause in the subsequent revision.
― rb (soda), Thursday, 7 December 2017 01:31 (five years ago) link
ronan if you're around on sun i can pop over --- or you can come to mine -- and i can talk you through the basics-that-you-need of scrivener (which i love)
the tutorials and how-to that they provide spend a *lot* of time on the many many little bells and whistles you won't need from day to day, and don't make it at all obvious which these might be
― mark s, Friday, 8 December 2017 09:30 (five years ago) link
yes that'd be good! also good to catch up.
― Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Friday, 8 December 2017 09:40 (five years ago) link
having deplayed the cliche i now faintly want a version of scrivener with actual bells and whistles, to celebrate when i complete a thing and think it's actually any good 🎉
― mark s, Friday, 8 December 2017 09:43 (five years ago) link
I used to write 500 words a day, just engrained into my daily routine, because there was always a 2hr window before my wife would come home from work and it was just perfect for it. That doesn't really happen any more, but one of the things that made it possible was just not caring whether I was writing complete shit or not, just getting something down and moving forward was the point. If it's shit you at least know why it's shit and can deal with it later, editing is so much easier than writing for me, rather than sitting there and spending hours trying to get the perfect sentence first off.
Like, just the little voice inside your head that reads over a sentence or a paragraph and goes 'hmmm, not sure about this' is just incredibly useful and should probably be obeyed. But if you're working on something longer you tend to hit structural problems as you go along so I'm trying to find the balance between planning something out and just letting it flow and that's incredibly hard.
If we're on a 'terrible writers you have known' kick then I once encountered someone at a writing group who had rewritten Jerusalem as a poem about Nigel Farage. It was only after we had spent several minutes critiquing it that we realised from his face that this wasn't actually a work of hilarious satire and was in fact delivered in deadly earnest. Virtually everything he read after that would trade in dubious racial caricatures of one type or another.
A few of us are starting a group for writers in our immediate local area and I'm really not sure how to go about filtering out people who want to write Islamophobic rants or violent rape fantasies or whatever. The prospect of willingly inviting weirdos into your life is not especially appealing.
― Matt DC, Friday, 8 December 2017 11:06 (five years ago) link
does that mean i'm not invited ;)
have been part of various meetup dot com affiliated writing circles over the years. most recently one in woolwich. my gf even came along! the quality of the writing was not high (with a couple of possible exceptions) and the round-table crit was sort of nauseating and we left early. it always seems like a good idea to join a writing circle but as you say, it's very hard to legislate for the members being on your wavelength. we've tried to start our own more discerning group on meetup as well, but only like 4 people have joined and there's never been a meeting - in being selective about membership we've sacrificed there being any kind of momentum to meet
― imago, Friday, 8 December 2017 11:38 (five years ago) link
Something something committee something Sistine
― remember the lmao (darraghmac), Friday, 8 December 2017 11:56 (five years ago) link
^ will clean that up later
it's incredibly difficult to find a good writing group, mostly i found them frustrating, offensive or painful at worst.
it's annoying because a group of readers commenting on something is invaluable. my masters has a really good environment like this but i'm already thinking of what i'll do when it ends in about two years. i want to start a writing group at that stage but i don't know how to screen people. it's hard because i don't want to put up a wall and exclude people, i think commitment is the most important thing, but equally you want a certain standard. i'm sort of hoping maybe i'll just do this with people from my class.
― Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Friday, 8 December 2017 12:01 (five years ago) link
Yeah I think I was quite lucky to find a really good one on the first go but the guy who was running it couldn't really keep it going and the whole thing sort of dwindled once it was forced to switch venues.
Even if people don't get what you're doing it helps if they fail to get it in interesting ways, that show up things maybe you hadn't thought about and might want to change.
― Matt DC, Friday, 8 December 2017 12:10 (five years ago) link
i have been trying to adapt to scrivener lately and oh boy i am not grokking it at all
― the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Friday, 8 December 2017 12:11 (five years ago) link
yeah and like an entire class saying they liked or disliked a particular bit, or didn't understand a certain bit, is particularly useful.
― Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Friday, 8 December 2017 12:24 (five years ago) link
I think that most groups succeed or fail on the strength of a strong facilitator. The facilitator can be external or a participant, but IME unless there’s somebody driving the bus, most configurations of writers turn into Rogersish encounter groups that’ll fall apart due to weird psychological undercurrents.
― rb (soda), Friday, 8 December 2017 14:41 (five years ago) link
Thomp, I use scrivener in a really simple way! I create a separate “chapter” for each scene, and each individual writing session becomes is a sub-file under the “chapter.” Sometimes I’ll even write a scene two or thee times and stick it in the same so-called chapter. This helps me to write in a more associative (as opposed to strictly linear) manner. When I get around to editing, I print a “chapter” at a time and massage/mix-and-match/revise based on the overall concept. During the course of a long project this allows me to write lots of varients of individual parts of the narrative, without settling on a right or authoritative version.Initially I’ll use the notecard feature to set up the “chapters” and not revisit until I drag ‘em around until late, late in the revising. I never use the compile feature, but I love to create research files that are basically just vision boards or piles of nifty words and images.
― rb (soda), Friday, 8 December 2017 14:58 (five years ago) link
If I were to start or join a writing group, I'd also like to try recruiting people who were mainly good readers---sometimes posting astute comments, for instance, but not trying to be a Writer.
― dow, Friday, 8 December 2017 20:04 (five years ago) link
cross out the 'astute' from that and I'd be in.
― xyzzzz__, Friday, 8 December 2017 20:10 (five years ago) link
Yeah I am personally quite done with trying to Be A Writer. But I would be happy to kick it with, converse with, and non-self-interestedly critique the work of people who were trying to Be A Writer.
― didgeridon't (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 8 December 2017 20:30 (five years ago) link
That's what I mean, the back and forth. What's so rong w "astute" ppl? I don't mean self-important etc., but actually sharp, while reading for pleasure more than zings (well some zings of course but no trolling).
― dow, Friday, 8 December 2017 21:18 (five years ago) link
prob not so many zings when face to face with Writer.
― dow, Friday, 8 December 2017 21:19 (five years ago) link
anyone in such a group should be trying to be a writer - and abandoning the kind of fear that leads to embarrassed capitalisation of that idea. the group should be destroying the latter.
― Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Saturday, 9 December 2017 01:19 (five years ago) link
Not embarrassed, just internet shorthand (far as I'm aware of). I just like to hear from some without a certain kind of filter, shield, angle, preoccupation, competitiveness---good to have an *audience* that isn't entirely silent. Not that audience members can't have these, but different kinds from those of colleagues, ideally anyway.
― dow, Saturday, 9 December 2017 02:35 (five years ago) link
so if people aren’t using scrivener are they using something else to sync drafts between computer and phone? or are they just.... not?
― ||||||||, Monday, 11 December 2017 23:14 (five years ago) link
Dropbox for word docs?
― ♫ very clever with maracas.jpg ♫ (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 11 December 2017 23:25 (five years ago) link
Wow, the euphony of that line ^^^
― rb (soda), Monday, 11 December 2017 23:29 (five years ago) link
― ♫ very clever with maracas.jpg ♫ (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 11 December 2017 23:40 (five years ago) link
do you mean like putting something from your phone onto your comp? i email it to myself! when i had an iphone i would send it via airdrop.
tho i prob never did a full draft on my phone, more extended snippets.
― Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 12 December 2017 10:29 (five years ago) link
I use a google doc
― Zelda Zonk, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 10:51 (five years ago) link
google doc’s a good idea
was their not someone up for the goldsmiths prize this year that wrote their book on their phone while commuting? I can’t imagine
― ||||||||, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 15:25 (five years ago) link
Thomp, I use scrivener in a really simple way! I create a separate “chapter” for each scene, and each individual writing session becomes is a sub-file under the “chapter.” Sometimes I’ll even write a scene two or thee times and stick it in the same so-called chapter.
This helps me to write in a more associative (as opposed to strictly linear) manner. When I get around to editing, I print a “chapter” at a time and massage/mix-and-match/revise based on the overall concept. During the course of a long project this allows me to write lots of varients of individual parts of the narrative, without settling on a right or authoritative version.
Initially I’ll use the notecard feature to set up the “chapters” and not revisit until I drag ‘em around until late, late in the revising. I never use the compile feature, but I love to create research files that are basically just vision boards or piles of nifty words and images.
― rb (soda), Friday, December 8, 2017 2:58 PM (five days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
thanks for this! it's helpful to hear ways in which a real person uses it -- the tutorial is very 'you can do this or this or even this, if you want' -- as i guess mark points out above -- but doesn't really explain why a person would do this (i) or this (ii) or even this (iii)
― the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Wednesday, 13 December 2017 08:06 (five years ago) link
kudos to anyone who has ever wrote one book. the work it must take to control theme, character, plot, pace, continuity, dialogue, scenes, novelty etc etc across book length
― ||||||||, Sunday, 7 January 2018 19:10 (five years ago) link
I settled on just writing into a text file saved on dropbox, with notes in notes.app synced across icloud. it's kinda messy (offers none of the organisation of something like scrivener) but think it will work, at least for first/vomit drafting
― ||||||||, Sunday, 7 January 2018 19:12 (five years ago) link
dropbox is fine. i use google docs and that's fine too. don't know scrivener so can't comment rly but can't imagine how it'd make me more productive
― #TeamHailing (imago), Sunday, 7 January 2018 19:14 (five years ago) link
I was just finding google docs slow, on my old computer
I'm interested in people's process for drafting too. like, say, do you try and get it as good as possible first time round? or do you just try get the story down and work it all out in the edit? will you partially write scenes and leave markers to go back and fill in details, or do you try and write them as full as possible? do you write the story sequentially or jump about the timeline, as ideas for scenes come to you? that kind of stuff
― ||||||||, Sunday, 7 January 2018 19:18 (five years ago) link
i write it sequentially and try to get it good although of course it isn't ever quite good enough until after several subsequent passes, and even then...
last time around i had a giant wodge of plot, sentences i knew i'd include later, ideas etc at the bottom of the document, underneath what i was writing, and this both expanded and diminished as i went through. at no stage did i go past a scene leaving it blank although i can see a case for that now, especially as i had to completely retool a couple of them later. it made sense to write in order as there were so many balls being juggled and so many intersecting plotlines that a continuity screwup would have probably happened otherwise. also despite overarching structural certainties a lot of it was kind of improvised and skipping ahead would have maybe lost the thread, or felt like cheating. idk though when it comes to writing, all cheating this side of plagiarism is probably ok. psychologically it would have left a void between two written bits, which would have sat ill with me
current book i've planned what's going to happen in every chapter before writing it, which will hopefully enable me to churn it out p quickly (although nothing for 2 months over winter, been mulling). of course i'll probably butcher the damn thing afterwards, because butchering something that's already done is kind of much more fun than filling in blanks or maybe even writing the original draft itself sometimes. a block to carve is a delightful thing. although yeah as i say, i do try and get it right first time around too. it's laborious
― #TeamHailing (imago), Sunday, 7 January 2018 20:13 (five years ago) link
how do people refine their idea of what their story is /about/ (theme rather than plot, accepting their symbiotic to an extent)
I'm interested particularly how people push through their first drafts (crafting scenes etc) while maintaining something which is at least semi-coherently /about/ something which can be moulded and refined in later drafts
― ||||||||, Thursday, 25 January 2018 17:57 (five years ago) link
It's probably a horribly inefficient way of working, but wrt the thing I'm currently trying to piece together, I'm initially writing a lot about it rather than, y'know, actually just writing it. Loads of expository passages, delineations of character relationships, etc. Stuff that's only intended to figure into the finished piece in an oblique way, as if I'm writing a history book about the story I'm trying to write. When I sit down to actually write parts of it, I already have a pretty deep sense of how pieces fit together and what I'm trying to comment on and many of the potential inconsistencies have already been preemptively resolved and meandering quasi-themes quashed.
Keeping in mind that this is all in the service of a final product that, knowing me, will probably never actually manifest. But hey.
― Senior Soft-Serve Tech at the Froyo Arroyo (Old Lunch), Thursday, 25 January 2018 18:22 (five years ago) link
scrivener is a god send for longer stuff
― belcalis almanzar (||||||||), Tuesday, 20 February 2018 08:52 (five years ago) link
I decided to start NaNoWriMo today for the first time. I'm intimidated by some of the more garish displays of motivational cheerleading that surrounds it, but also don't want to not acknowledge that I am doing it. Is anyone else partaking this year? Or just, how is everyone's writing going?
― tangenttangent, Friday, 1 November 2019 22:36 (three years ago) link
The only book I have succeeded in writing was given impetus by NaNoWriMo. It was not a novel, but a sort of humorous non-fiction sort of whatnot, inspired by Three Men in a Boat. I did not finish it within a month, but did get a fairly finished 75,000 word draft done in about eleven weeks, which is pretty speedy. My only counsel would be, it's OK to use NaNoWriMo as a springboard to getting some writing done, in whatever way feels most valuable to you.
It is getting into the spirit of the thing - just launch yourself and write, don't second guess yourself, and don't polish - that helps most.
― A is for (Aimless), Saturday, 2 November 2019 00:29 (three years ago) link
75k in eleven weeks is certainly a remarkable feat! And that sounds like a great premise - is it around anywhere that I might have a look at it?
Thanks for the advice too. I do think that biggest challenge will be not constantly second-guessing myself, but I'm hoping that some of that will drift away once I get more into it. If all this accomplishes is my not being so afraid to commit something to page then it'll probably be well worth it.
― tangenttangent, Saturday, 2 November 2019 09:37 (three years ago) link
anywhere that I might have a look at it?
You should be writing today instead of reading my stuff, but I put a somewhat clumsy epub of my book on Dropbox and there's a link to it that should work, posted on this thread.
― A is for (Aimless), Saturday, 2 November 2019 16:46 (three years ago) link
I'm intimidated by some of the more garish displays of motivational cheerleading that surrounds it, but also don't want to not acknowledge that I am doing it
This is me down to a tee tbf. Have you found a path through this minefield? I'm thinking of signing up but doing it in a coveted way? I really do want to, if only for a sorely needed kickstart.
― Le Bateau Ivre, Monday, 4 November 2019 10:23 (three years ago) link
Anything to report so far?
― A is for (Aimless), Monday, 18 November 2019 21:33 (three years ago) link
i'm writing a lot, for money even
no fiction tho
― mark s, Monday, 18 November 2019 21:37 (three years ago) link
Sorry for disappearing from this thread! I'm always doing that. I'm still going with this! Almost at 30k, which is by far the most sustained thing I've done. I'm thinking I will finish something, though readability is another issue entirely. Some set up a Discord for London-based writers and it's been really helpful with keeping motivation going so far in a low-key and mutually supportive kind of way.
LBI - did you sign up in the end?
Aimless - I will have a look at your book properly at month's end!
― tangenttangent, Monday, 18 November 2019 23:20 (three years ago) link
I will have a look at your book properly at month's end!
Don't feel committed. Fit it in somewhere, if and when you want to.
― A is for (Aimless), Monday, 18 November 2019 23:52 (three years ago) link
TT, that is amazing! 30k is a huge achievement, regardless of readability (well y'know, but y'know!). I think this initiative is meant to get those fingers firing and typing when the brain is racing and inspired. That is a huge deal. You should be proud.
And I am rather curious, truth be told, how the low key supportive thing works w/ people you don't know? It'd be a new one for me, but glad it's working out for you!
I did not sign up in the end, and am actively avoiding chat channels or groups intended on motivating people, because it's not for me right now... If anything I like to block out everyone, every chance I get at writing. I'm at 7k. Life got in the way, and I can't clear my head or focus properly because of... stuff. I have a publisher for the first time in my life, who laid down an advance, and I'm meeting him this Thurs to talk about the ~progress~ of my book and I am fretting about not being able to hand over something substantial. Ugh. Perhaps my gf said it best tonight: "Oh no! You'll be the first writer in history to not deliver what was agreed upon on time!" She's right, just tell him my reasons why it hasn't happened yet, and they *are* legitimate reasons, but... It just feels like ehhh another let down.
The struggle is real :)
― Le Bateau Ivre, Tuesday, 19 November 2019 00:06 (three years ago) link
I really didn't think it'd be for me either. Try as I might, my self-confidence is still crushingly low, so anything where I'm comparing myself to other people seemed like a nightmare, but I don't know...everyone is just so focussed on their own goal and achievements, that nothing else matters. It's been really regulating and laid-back. We do timed writing sprints together throughout the day of 15 minutes, and there's no prompts unless you want one - everyone just working on their own thing. If someone is feeling doubtful, everyone is quietly very encouraging. It seems odd that there are no huge egos or dramatic incidents, but it's just worked out that way.
I'm sorry you've had a hard time recently. Those are wise words from your gf though! So true. It's amazing that you have a publisher, and 7k is a substantial start for an actual book. I'm pretty sure if I had the anticipation of someone reading my work I would write a lot more carefully. Good luck with your meeting - I'm sure you'll be feeling better afterwards on Thursday!
― tangenttangent, Tuesday, 19 November 2019 22:54 (three years ago) link
...finishing an essay for a volume in the philosophy of language. It was supposed to be done eleven months ago. I have accomplished an enormous number of important things as a way of not working on it. A couple of months ago, bothered by guilt, I wrote a letter to the editor saying how sorry I was to be so late and expressing my good intentions to get to work. Writing the letter was, of course, a way of not working on the article. It turned out that I really wasn't much further behind schedule than anyone else.
From this article I read today: http://www.structuredprocrastination.com/
― tangenttangent, Tuesday, 19 November 2019 22:58 (three years ago) link
It took me a week to get around to this, but thank you tt! For your honest reply and for sharing that essay/article, I enjoyed reading that. "I have accomplished an enormous number of important things as a way of not working on it." The quote you pulled, and this one especially, rings awfully true (or rather: I should tell myself that more often). Crushing insecurity is, of course, the biggest factor at play here, and it's a multi-headed beast. It can make me put off writing, it can make me hate what I wrote, it can make me put things off, it can even make excuses for myself when not writing when I really should. (taking a step back and reading this makes me go #smdh, but it feels inescapable to feel these things while working on my book? Most other times it just feels like I'm whining, but that's on me)
It seems like you found a very supportive, encouraging network you can fall back on when needed. It sounds like something I'd sign up for to be frank! But then a million negatives kick in - well, not only negatives, also some dumb convictions like feeling alone and inept and struggling is part of the job? There's a masochist element to it, for sure. How did you get on? Did you manage to write something nearly every day? Was writing a book your goal and did you more or less follow up on that, or was it worth your while if only for the writing exercise?
(the publisher, of course, was very understanding and supportive. there are some practical issues affected by my stalling, like him applying for grants/funds and having to delay that, changing schedules with the designer of the book etc. [I say these things coolly but they make me go 'holy fuck this is realllll' lol] it will be... ok. -ish ;) )
― Le Bateau Ivre, Tuesday, 26 November 2019 22:28 (three years ago) link
When writing both saves you and hurts you.
― xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 31 January 2023 12:25 (one month ago) link