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Brandi_R
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Topic 9: What are you writing now?

Let’s talk a bit about what you’re writing now. What specific project are you working on? What problems are you struggling with in that project? What breakthroughs have you had recently? If you’re not working on something specific, what are you doing? Is something standing in the way of starting?
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marcialou
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Re: Topic 9: What are you writing now?

My current project, that I have referred to a few times on this forum, was motivated by a challange to write about someone unlike myself in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, or politics. I'm a middle-aged American white woman with an intact family. I am writing a story about an American black urban teenage girl raised by a single mother.

I finished one draft, received a few critiques, and am now totally rewriting it. It's been hard, because it's one of the few stories I've written that is not based on people I know and real events. Trying to get the cultural stuff right is also a challenge.

I'm also struggling with the voice. My character is intelligent and college bound. She talks like her peers but she can write in standard English for school. I'm pretty much ok with the dialogue, but I'm writing the narrative in third person familiar (I think that's what it's called.) So the spelling and grammar is standard but some of the phrasing and vocabulary is vernacular. I'm not sure that works.

Marcia
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historybuff234
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Re: Topic 9: What are you writing now?



Brandi_R wrote:
Let’s talk a bit about what you’re writing now. What specific project are you working on? What problems are you struggling with in that project? What breakthroughs have you had recently? If you’re not working on something specific, what are you doing? Is something standing in the way of starting?




I'm working on multiple projects right now, I'll share some. My main focus is a novel that combines characters from classics and combines them all into a club where they meet on the Isle of Man. It takes place in the 1890's. And they have adventures and things like that. One of my smaller projects is a book called Tales From the British Empire, it is a collection of short stories that take place during the time of te British Empire. They take place during and in the Boer War, Egypt, India, I have one during WWII, and a lot of other areas that Britian controlled. I have a collection of short stories and they pretty random short stories, what I mean is that they have no spefific subject. They are mulitple topics

My problem on the novel is that I don't know what is a good length. I have already had the characters have run ins with the Czar of Russia's assassins, an Amazon exploration venture, the characters from The Earth to the Moon going to space, Victor Frankentsein raising the dead, and a couple of other things. I'm thinking of adding in one more thing, but I don't want to overload the book. Because there will be a sequel to it. And in this first one Captain Nemo (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) dies. And he has Captain Ahab (Moby Dick) takes over his submarine, the Nautilus. And of course I'll add more characters in the sequel. I'll post more later, I'm a teenage boy so I'm kind of hungry. I need to grabb a snack, then I'll be back.
The important thing, is to keep the important thing the important thing.
-Albert Einstein
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APenForYourThoughts
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Re: Topic 9: What are you writing now?

Since it's summer, I have a lot more time to write and really work on a piece. Since I have only recently recaptured the writing dream (I had it for a long time, and then I lost all faith in myself, but it's come back. For the most part, anyway), so I'm working on some short stories. I wrote one that is quite short, and then one that is far longer, and I'm really working on solidity and description. I'm letting my poetic side into my prose writing and am trying to make sure there are no holes at all. I figure that if I'm going to write a novel someday, I should start small so I work out the problems now and will be better prepared to write something longer. I've written both of the stories out and have gone through about two rounds of revisions. The longer of the two, in particular, has gotten a lot better. I think I'm going to do one more set of revisions, and then I should be happy with it, or at least as happy as I'll ever be with it. I wrote some poetry earlier in the summer, and today I had nothing to do so I wrote a poem in Spanish. I need to practice both anyway, so why not kill two birds with one stone? I also try to write in a personal journal everyday so I can get my thoughts down and keep up with my writing. I'm trying to express myself in a sophisticated manner, not the typical teenage, "OH MY GOSH, I AM, LIKE, SOOOOO DEPRESSED!!" I definitely plan on writing some more before I have to go back to school. I just need an idea... I'm sure one will hit me eventually. They always come to me when I least expect them to.
"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us." --Kafka
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marcialou
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Re: Topic 9: What are you writing now?

Historybuff,

Your novel sounds fascinating. You ask about length. I'm no expert but the Gotham Writers' Workshop book says novels are typically at least 80,000 words, sometimes a little shorter and sometimes a lot longer. That might give you an idea of what to aim for. Aside from that, I would think a novel should comprise a coherent whole, with a beginning, middle, and end (not necessarily told in that order.) Giving your novel some kind of "shape" should probably be more important than the length.



Pen,

You sound like you are developing some good writing habits. Can you tell us briefly what your stories are about?

Marcia
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APenForYourThoughts
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Re: Topic 9: What are you writing now?

Thanks! I certainly hope I will become a better writer with time.
The shorter story is kind of strange; just an eerie little story about mushrooms. It sounds peculiar, but you don't find out that it's a story about mushrooms until the very end, unless you happen to figure it out. It's pretty cool, actually; I might post it later, if anyone has any interest in reading it.
The longer one is a little odd because it's a story about a man's romances and love of poetry up to his twenty-sixth year of life, starting with the person who introduced him to poetry when he was eight years old and leading up to the one girl who really broke his heart a year prior to the story's opening. A great deal of the story consists of recollections, actually. I like to think that my ending paragraph is the best one, though, which makes me happy, because I tend to be bad at endings. I really let the poetic rivers in my soul run free and flood their banks.
The shorter story was my eerie piece; the longer one was my romantic, sentimental piece. I'm trying to write in different tones and about different subjects, so I don't really know what's next. Something different, though, probably. I don't want to bind myself to any particular genre right now. Happy writing, everyone!
"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us." --Kafka
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historybuff234
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Re: Topic 9: What are you writing now?

"You sound like you are developing some good writing habits. Can you tell us briefly what your stories are about?"

Well, Tale from the British Empire isn't done yet, I have only 2 written and working a a third as we speak. The first takes place during the Boer War (I posted it one the short story thread by me, if you'd like to read it) and my second is about British soldiers fighting off bandits on the Nile. I'll post that one today if you'd like to read it. The second is about an infantryman during WWII in France. I'll write more and post them here. Once I'm done with my books I'll post them chapter by chapter here. I'll probably write a story for British Empire that is about the Desert Rats and how they fought off Irwin Rommel's Afrika Corp. Any ideas are welcome, so please give me some!
The important thing, is to keep the important thing the important thing.
-Albert Einstein
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crAZRick
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Re: Topic 9: What are you writing now?

I finished a first-draft of my latest, greatest screenplay effort. now comes the 'fun' part; revision, revision, revision...that's what I've been up to lately
I no longer regret that I have no quote, quip or anecdote to share with my countrymen... how about all y'all?
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historybuff234
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Re: Topic 9: What are you writing now?



crAZRick wrote:
I finished a first-draft of my latest, greatest screenplay effort. now comes the 'fun' part; revision, revision, revision...that's what I've been up to lately




I don't know why, but revision has always seemed like a bore. But then I do understand that it is a big part of writing, and I have not began revision yet. It probably isn't that bad. Once I began it shouldn't be too bad. I'll have to lengthen something and add more details.

Hey would it be okay if after I'm done I post my novel chapter by chapter? I just got back from my big swim meet, it's the last one of the whole season. I swam the mile, so fun! Now I have a month off and then the fall/winter season begins. During the break I'm really going to be going at my writing hard! I've got more short stories on the way!

What's your novel about crAZRick? I'd like to know.
The important thing, is to keep the important thing the important thing.
-Albert Einstein
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Cup_of_Joe
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Re: Topic 9: What are you writing now?

I have just finished the final version of my 100,000-word near-future, sci-fi novel, called "Cyberdrome." After making a another run through the synopsis, I will be sending it and the first 3 chapters off to an agent for review.

After that, I have a few short stories outlined, just to give myself a little break before starting the next big novel (which will be a far-future, first exploration of a water-planet (no solid land). Since I am an oceanographer by day, I thought the next undertaking should use that background (as they say, write what you know!).

Joe
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APenForYourThoughts
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Re: Topic 9: What are you writing now?

[ Edited ]
Joe, we'll be rooting for you! Good luck!
Welcome back, historybuff! Revision can be a bit boring at times, but it is an essential part of the writing process. When I write, I like to write out the first draft and then put it aside for at least twenty-four hours before beginning to revise. I tend to revise about three full times, sometimes more or fewer times depending on when I'm happy with it. But I find that putting it aside between each revision makes it less strenuous, and the revisions will be more complete and effective.
Anyway, I would definitely like to read some of your novel, so post away!

Message Edited by APenForYourThoughts on 07-30-2007 11:07 AM
"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us." --Kafka
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historybuff234
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Re: Topic 9: What are you writing now?



APenForYourThoughts wrote:
Joe, we'll be rooting for you! Good luck!
Welcome back, historybuff! Revision can be a bit boring at times, but it is an essential part of the writing process. When I write, I like to write out the first draft and then put it aside for at least twenty-four hours before beginning to revise. I tend to revise about three full times, sometimes more or fewer times depending on when I'm happy with it. But I find that putting it aside between each revision makes it less strenuous, and the revisions will be more complete and effective.
Anyway, I would definitely like to read some of your novel, so post away!

Message Edited by APenForYourThoughts on 07-30-2007 11:07 AM




Great! Once I'm done revising I'll post it. I've got a short story done, now I'm just reading it over to see what I want to change. It's really weird, even weirder than the Mt. Killamanjaro one, I hope you like it!
The important thing, is to keep the important thing the important thing.
-Albert Einstein
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crAZRick
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Re: Topic 9: What are you writing now?



historybuff234 wrote:br>
What's your novel about crAZRick? I'd like to know.




My novel is at least partially-posted here somewhere down down down the list, probably on page 10 or 12 or where ever bad writing goes to die on this new-fangled mess of a message board. It's a coming-of-age action-adventure-romantic-comedy about a regular college-age kid who battles terrorists to win the heart of the only girl to accept his offer of a date.

my other short story posted here is about a down-and-out gambler who takes a chance on romancing a crackwhore... it ends badly, so I guess it's a tragedy?

my current project is a feature-length screenplay, a romantic-drama about a gambler who risks it all to win the heart of a single mother.

that's about it
I no longer regret that I have no quote, quip or anecdote to share with my countrymen... how about all y'all?
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APenForYourThoughts
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Re: Topic 9: What are you writing now?

Rick, I'm going to search for your stories on here. They sound great!
"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us." --Kafka
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historybuff234
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Re: Topic 9: What are you writing now?

Yes, they sound great I'll look for them right now. I'm writing right now on my novel. I'm close to finishing the first draft!
The important thing, is to keep the important thing the important thing.
-Albert Einstein
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Brandi_R
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Re: Topic 9: What are you writing now?



marcialou wrote:
My current project, that I have referred to a few times on this forum, was motivated by a challange to write about someone unlike myself in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, or politics. I'm a middle-aged American white woman with an intact family. I am writing a story about an American black urban teenage girl raised by a single mother.

I finished one draft, received a few critiques, and am now totally rewriting it. It's been hard, because it's one of the few stories I've written that is not based on people I know and real events. Trying to get the cultural stuff right is also a challenge.

I'm also struggling with the voice. My character is intelligent and college bound. She talks like her peers but she can write in standard English for school. I'm pretty much ok with the dialogue, but I'm writing the narrative in third person familiar (I think that's what it's called.) So the spelling and grammar is standard but some of the phrasing and vocabulary is vernacular. I'm not sure that works.

Marcia




This is really exciting, Marcia! I find this kind of expanding of boundaries is vital for a writer, although growing pains are quite common. Keep your ear tuned to voices of people in real life who are similar to your character. That can help you get a better sense of authenticity. And it’s perfectly fine to use standard grammar and spelling when using third person, but some vocabulary and phrasing of the character in the narrative when using third person. Drawing from the character’s language when using third person is a great way to bring the reader closer to the character.
letterpressfiction.blogspot.com
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Brandi_R
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Re: Topic 9: What are you writing now?



historybuff234 wrote:


Brandi_R wrote:
Let’s talk a bit about what you’re writing now. What specific project are you working on? What problems are you struggling with in that project? What breakthroughs have you had recently? If you’re not working on something specific, what are you doing? Is something standing in the way of starting?




I'm working on multiple projects right now, I'll share some. My main focus is a novel that combines characters from classics and combines them all into a club where they meet on the Isle of Man. It takes place in the 1890's. And they have adventures and things like that. One of my smaller projects is a book called Tales From the British Empire, it is a collection of short stories that take place during the time of te British Empire. They take place during and in the Boer War, Egypt, India, I have one during WWII, and a lot of other areas that Britian controlled. I have a collection of short stories and they pretty random short stories, what I mean is that they have no spefific subject. They are mulitple topics

My problem on the novel is that I don't know what is a good length. I have already had the characters have run ins with the Czar of Russia's assassins, an Amazon exploration venture, the characters from The Earth to the Moon going to space, Victor Frankentsein raising the dead, and a couple of other things. I'm thinking of adding in one more thing, but I don't want to overload the book. Because there will be a sequel to it. And in this first one Captain Nemo (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) dies. And he has Captain Ahab (Moby Dick) takes over his submarine, the Nautilus. And of course I'll add more characters in the sequel. I'll post more later, I'm a teenage boy so I'm kind of hungry. I need to grabb a snack, then I'll be back.




Ambitious projects! How wonderful that you’re delving into history and imagination. For your novel, you might find it helpful to focus the character’s adventures on one main goal. Perhaps each of the characters is trying to get something (back home? elected president of the club?). That will bring unity and focus to the novel, and at the same time answer the question about length. It will be done when you reveal how that main goal panned out.
letterpressfiction.blogspot.com
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Brandi_R
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Re: Topic 9: What are you writing now?



APenForYourThoughts wrote:
Since it's summer, I have a lot more time to write and really work on a piece. Since I have only recently recaptured the writing dream (I had it for a long time, and then I lost all faith in myself, but it's come back. For the most part, anyway), so I'm working on some short stories. I wrote one that is quite short, and then one that is far longer, and I'm really working on solidity and description. I'm letting my poetic side into my prose writing and am trying to make sure there are no holes at all. I figure that if I'm going to write a novel someday, I should start small so I work out the problems now and will be better prepared to write something longer. I've written both of the stories out and have gone through about two rounds of revisions. The longer of the two, in particular, has gotten a lot better. I think I'm going to do one more set of revisions, and then I should be happy with it, or at least as happy as I'll ever be with it. I wrote some poetry earlier in the summer, and today I had nothing to do so I wrote a poem in Spanish. I need to practice both anyway, so why not kill two birds with one stone? I also try to write in a personal journal everyday so I can get my thoughts down and keep up with my writing. I'm trying to express myself in a sophisticated manner, not the typical teenage, "OH MY GOSH, I AM, LIKE, SOOOOO DEPRESSED!!" I definitely plan on writing some more before I have to go back to school. I just need an idea... I'm sure one will hit me eventually. They always come to me when I least expect them to.




I’m glad to hear your confidence is building with writing and that you’ve gotten back to this dream of yours to write. Looking for fresh ways to describe is a great task. Some writers find it useful to describe the same moment—an object, an action—of a sentence or two in ten different ways. That forces you to really think beyond your initial idea of and words for it. The results are often quite unexpected.
letterpressfiction.blogspot.com
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Brandi_R
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Re: Topic 9: What are you writing now?



crAZRick wrote:
I finished a first-draft of my latest, greatest screenplay effort. now comes the 'fun' part; revision, revision, revision...that's what I've been up to lately




Fun part, indeed! How’s it going?
letterpressfiction.blogspot.com
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Brandi_R
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Re: Topic 9: What are you writing now?



Cup_of_Joe wrote:
I have just finished the final version of my 100,000-word near-future, sci-fi novel, called "Cyberdrome." After making a another run through the synopsis, I will be sending it and the first 3 chapters off to an agent for review.

After that, I have a few short stories outlined, just to give myself a little break before starting the next big novel (which will be a far-future, first exploration of a water-planet (no solid land). Since I am an oceanographer by day, I thought the next undertaking should use that background (as they say, write what you know!).

Joe




That will be a great opportunity to use your unique knowledge in a work of fiction. And I imagine your knowledge will also open up possibilities for conflict, deeper metaphor, etc. Congratulations on finishing up the first novel. Do let us know how your agent-hunting goes.
letterpressfiction.blogspot.com