05-25-2007 10:12 AM
Do you have an idea for a book? A half-written manuscript? Is your manuscript 98% complete but still in need of tweaking? Whatever the state of your writing, the reality is that you won't get your book published until you get it done.
Whether you're writing for friends and family or as a money-making venture, think of a book as you would any other business project. You wouldn't try to launch a new product without setting goals or land a new client without carefully preparing a presentation. Likewise, you shouldn't try to write a book without some serious planning.
Start by setting aside a time and place to write and acquiring the necessary tools. Then establish a writing schedule -- on paper -- and hold yourself to it. I have never met an author who wasn't driven by deadlines.
So set a goal. For example, maybe you want to have your book published by January 2009. Start there, and then work backward. Does that sound like a long way off? Actually, if you want to get traditionally published, you'll have to factor in at least 18 months, so you're already at deadline! (If you have a time-sensitive topic or want to get your book in print sooner, don't worry because there are alternatives.)
Of course, all this sounds easy. It's not. To get my book, Get Published, done, I dragged myself out of bed and made my way, laptop in hand, to the local Starbucks. It was definitely the latte that got me there, but once there I had nothing to do but write. (Noisy and busy spaces give me energy; I'd much rather write in a public space.)
To all the writers out there, where do you write? How do you stay on track? What tricks of the trade can you share? Also feel free to share your questions or problems with finishing your book, turning your creative ideas into a final manuscript.
Reply to this message to join the conversation.
President & CEO
06-01-2007 02:44 PM
Does anyone out there write and do their own illustrations?
06-01-2007 02:51 PM
06-01-2007 03:48 PM - edited 06-01-2007 03:48 PM
he said (in regards to film-making, so I paraphrase):
A good story is never complete, it is only abandoned.
He was referring to Star Wars, and to the reasons why he went back and made the Special Editions, Directors Cuts, Super-Delux-Ultimate-Extraordinary Directors Cut Special Mega-Ultra Edition... and the prequels
it didn't have anything to do with making money hand-over-fist, for re-packaging and hawking the same old thing back on the unsuspecting public and ravenous fanatics who would pay anything for another spoonful of mediocre 'improvements' from the man, the legend, the god, George Lucas... he did it all 'to tell a better story...'
yeah, right George...
any way, so that's how I go about 'finishing' my novels. I will be revising and revisiting the stories until I die; they will never see the light of day on any Barnes & Noble store shelves, so I rework and rework and rework...
Message Edited by crAZRick on 06-01-200702:49 PM
06-01-2007 05:45 PM
I'm a potter, and I was once taught, you need to visualize the lump of clay, and see it develope in your mind - from the time you put your hands on it, until it comes out of the kiln. You must see the processes, and the objective (end results).
I've written two ways....One, starting out just to write a screwball story, for the fun of watching where it will take me. I just let it happen, allowing my mind free will. About three quarters of the way through, I knew the ending...it just hit me. You'll have writers who will disagree with this type of writing....
I've tried to edit myself, but find the difficulty lies in my frame of mind, which varies from day to day. Words are so illusive at times, my objectivity can be lost. I can write and rewrite until I'm blue in the face. I was told by an author, always save your first draft....at least you have something to fall back on, after you've screwed up all the rewrites!
Now I have a second story - I know the beginning, I know the middle, and I know the ending. It's satisfying to write this way, also. I'm working out the connecting parts - tying it all together....And I know it has to stop at the ending I've chosen.
Yes, there can be continuations or sequels to most any story, according to whomever reads whatever you've written. That's half the fun of reading, it's using the imagination at the ending of a novel. As a reader, it's all in the eyes of the beholder.
The discipline in organizing your thoughts, as a writer, takes work at times, at least that's the conclusion I've drawn. And we all have our own reasons for creating, in whichever field of art you've chosen. But the ultimate goal for me, is the personal satisfaction I get while going through the process. It's all a great and grand discovery, when the process becomes satisfying.
06-04-2007 04:32 PM
06-04-2007 04:43 PM
It was weird, wild, wacky and wonderful all at once, that little notebook full of random musings; and it worked very well.
06-05-2007 12:41 AM
In my 30 years of working, I'm sure I've seen or met a million people, so my characters are people I've seen, talk to, dealt with, or just watched in motel lobby. I want my characters to be everyday people. Stan Lee the creator of Spiderman wanted an everyday kid to have all troubles of growing up in addition to his superpowers. I want the same just without the superpowers.
I know who I want my audience to be and I know how I want the plot to flow. I know I want to try and surprise the reader with each new story.
What I need/ed to learn was the techniques used to accomplish my goals. So I've written some stories, to get feed back on how I wrote. Which I have learned a lot here at B&N. So, I will take lessons learned and continue writing stories. Once completed I hope to gain more fine tuning so that I can eventually go back to my first stories, rewrite the technique but leave the basic plot.
06-06-2007 05:47 PM
06-07-2007 03:43 PM
I'm on the fourth draft of my first novel and can honestly say that the only reason I've gotten to this point is because I'm not afraid to work hard no matter the outcome. The best way to get it done (since I have children and work part time) is to get up before dawn and force myself to write, whether I feel inspired or whether my muse is sleeping in and drooling on my pillow. It takes a certain amount of tenacity to finish a book, let alone revise it until it's as perfect as you can get it. Some of the best advice I received was from Kyra Davis, a bestselling chick lit author (yes, I'm namedropping). She said that when you're blocked and don't know what to write, you just sit back down and write anyway. I've found that to be the best way. Sometimes exercise, like walking, or housecleaning helps somewhat, but nothing beats writing like writing. Otherwise it's easy to let the block and your fear of its continuance psych you out.
Staying on track means making sure the automatic coffeemaker is pre-programmed so I can drag my weary carcass out of bed and get cracking! Goal setting works best when I have both long-term and short-term goals, like "I will write 2 pages every day no matter what. In one month I will produce 60 pages of new material." Even if I fall a little short of the goal, at least I'll still have produced something!
06-07-2007 09:20 PM
I agree. I honestly believe that anyone can land a book contract, but to do so takes more work (and probably money) than most people are willing or able to spend. Luckily, there are affordable alternatives that provide everyone the opportunity to see thier book in print and we'll talk about the alternatives at different points in this club.
Your tactics for dealing with writer's block are very sound and many experts would give similar advice. To everyone else: what strategies do you use to keep writing when life gets in the way?
President & CEO
06-08-2007 02:34 PM
06-18-2007 02:14 AM
Tales of Tara : Gabrielian Chronicles (soon to be released)
06-24-2007 10:12 AM
i was calling one of my health insurance companies to ask a question regarding a surgery question and the person i speak to is very interested in me and that i live in New Orleans and asked me about life after Hurricane Katrina. Well after 2 hours talking he said i really needed to put it all down on paper because i had a "real" story one that was "The real deal. The stuff the rest of us didn't see on CNN."
so we exchanged emails and after many talks on the cyber world lines he says that he graduates college english with a minor in creative writing and he said to me was "What
you need though is a little professional refinement, so to speak, someone you feel you can trust, a trained writer to help you convey it, in a way that makes it
almost impossible for the reader to put down."
so i sent him my very rough draft and we are in middle of editing.
so you see! i found an friend and help to edit and polish my story.
then every time i speak to someone else about my story i get help. For example again while shopping online to get some craft supplies for my mother i meet bj who is a member here and she told me about this website where i can get help, ideas, suggestions and so on.
so you see! It is like someone or something is pushing/guiding me in the right direction to get this story on the way to being published, or as my friend says in a very eloquent way...."by sheer happenstance during an insurance phone call, purely by chance?" & "Freaky, yes, but also kinda beautiful, you know?"
thank you for any comments/suggestions
"HOPE", "STRENGHT", "COMPASSION", AND "COURAGE" NOW AND FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES!
06-25-2007 07:10 PM
Congratulations on getting this far and good luck to you as you take your story to the next step.
President & CEO
07-05-2007 12:09 PM
07-10-2007 06:29 PM
I'm in the middle of what I hope is the final major edit of my third novel, Peter Wicked. I have to finish it by the middle of September, because that's when the editor needs it. I love a deadline. I wouldn't get anything done without a deadline.
I've got to say, though, I wouldn't write if I didn't get paid for it. It's more fun not to get paid for playing music, and more relaxing not to get paid for sleeping in, for instance. :0)
Anyway, my daily goal is to get through one chapter, which in my case is usually 10 to 15 pages. If I get through at least one scene, though, I figure I'm okay at this point. The closer I get to deadline the more panicked I'll get, and the more panicked I get the faster I'll edit. Works better than coffee and doesn't make my eyeballs jiggle. Doesn't taste as good though.
07-12-2007 10:33 AM
07-12-2007 02:01 PM
Don't overthink it--my advice to you is to just start capturing those stories, even if they are changing a bit. My own mother passed away several years ago, and I so regret that I didn't record her stories and memories.
The framework will come later (or it won't--but at least you'll have those memories which you and your relatives will surely treasure.)
President & CEO
07-24-2007 03:21 PM