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What are you Writing?

Discussion in 'The Reading Room' started by MikeKardec, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    Thank you, sir! I wanted to show how the organization and its agents would have to work -- things we didn't get to see often in the original. For instance, the rule about using coded communications in the field, in case the enemy was listening. (A hat tip, of course, to Star Trek's Wrath of Khan.) As for the guns, in my first draft I had them using only their regular pistols -- but then I realized the scenario was perfect for the use of the carbine models.

    Let's see if anybody else spots the Innocent couple. The movie has been discussed here on FL in the last year, if that helps any.
  2. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Making good progress on the novel. I had it mostly done a few weeks ago, but hated how I tied things up, so had to go back to the drawing board. This way should work much better.
    Tiki Tom likes this.
  3. HanauMan

    HanauMan A-List Customer

    Tree house

    The sun was low to the western horizon and just about to touch the wooded ridge on the other side of the valley. The shadows were lengthening and getting paler. Another hot, hazy and lazy August day was approaching its end. The air was warm and insects hummed all around us, the only constant sound in the otherwise stillness of the orchard we were in. Towards the east a pale yellow full moon began its ascent into the skies, looming large over the field of ripening wheat that edged into the orchard. The glaring brightness of the day was slowing being replaced by the pastel blue hue of twilight save for the orange and yellow tinged western horizon. A slight breeze came across the fields from the east, it was warm and carried the aroma of wheat and dust upon it. The breeze, at first barely perceptible, almost as if the rising moon blew a gentle kiss over the landscape, caressed our warm bodies with slender thin fingers, finding their way into our open shirts, ruffling our hair. It felt good; we were alive to the world and its sensations. Above our heads flew house martins hunting, diving, darting and wheeling in little groups, their chirping drifting down to us mortals below.

    "It sure is scary up here when it gets dark" noted Tom, resting on a branch of the crab apple tree we were sitting on.

    "Yeah, like it is haunted or something" I answered back, glancing over the wheat fields, the breeze creating ripples upon it like some strange dry inland sea.

    We were sitting in one of our little hide outs, a small and roughly built tree house which was nailed to one of the old apple trees in an ancient little orchard. The orchard lay on the northern edge of town and down a little dirt track on the slope of a hill. Behind us was the edge of town and a German suburb, below us was a small walled Nunnery and, beside it, a small dirty pond. Way over the ridge to our right was the wire security fence of the upper reaches of the tracked vehicle hardstands of our Kaserne. Another track went further into the local countryside, passing yet more wheat fields before heading towards the distant hills beyond.

    Five long lines of twisted and dwarfed black apple trees made up the orchard. The tree house had been there a very long time, so long in fact that it had become a part of the tree itself. We hadn't built it, we only found it by chance one wintery day and started using it as a place to depart from for an adventure or for returning back to from a long day out hiking the Bavarian countryside before the final push for home. Whether summer or winter, the orchard was always desolate and spooky. We liked that! We called the whole place Devil's Hill. We made up the history of the tree house, of the young German boys who had built it, then went to war and never came home again. Of the tree house waiting ever so patiently for their return until many years later we would find it and start to use it again.

    It has been nearly forty years now since I last sat in that tree house. Sometimes on a dark evening I wonder whether, after we left, it was ever used again or whether it has decayed into the dust. I have often thought about going back again one day to seek it out. Once there, however, would I see the ghost of my thirteen year old self there, still sitting on a branch, watching the ripening wheat rippling in the warm Bavarian breeze in the twilight hour?
    AmateisGal and Tiki Tom like this.
  4. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Practically Family

    Nice little story. I enjoyed it since I know that countryside pretty well; a sort of garden of eden in late summer. The last paragraph hit home because I often wonder similar things. (There is probably a new condo development there now, or maybe that's just the cynic in me.) Anyway, I enjoyed it and can't help but wonder what possessed you to post such a mini story here. And I mean that in the best possible way.
    HanauMan likes this.
  5. HanauMan

    HanauMan A-List Customer

    Hi. It was just something I had commented on earlier on this thread, about not really being able to write anything and about an idea I had, for some years, about maybe just writing an purely autobiographical based story. I was a tad bored yesterday so I posted it here so I could see what it looked like, no real reason beyond that.

    Thanks for enjoying it, though.
  6. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    New short story complete, 2600 words. Title at present (drawn from a line of dialogue in the story): "Time to Forget and Remember."
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2017
    AmateisGal and Tiki Tom like this.
  7. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Practically Family

    Yay! Nothing more satisfying than seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and feeling good about the project. Congratulations! As you know, I set my mystery aside for a few months and then rewrote the final chapter. So, nothing wrong with that. Best of luck!

    Great title. Actually: in part inspired by you, I recently decided to try my hand at a short story. Then it dawned on me that I had no idea what the word count range of a short story should be. Thanks to the magic of google, I learned that it can be quite flexible. I think I'll shoot for 4,000 words first time out. I'm stalled at the moment because I'm not sure how to tie up a necessary plot twist.

    PS, I've been meaning to reply, thanks for leading me to your other U.N.C.L.E. stories. I will get to them. Right now I'm diving into Martin Walker's new "Bruno, Chief of Police", installment. This is, like, number 10 in the series of novels. I'm happy to report that it is already better than no. 9, which was a little flat and read like he was just going through the motions. Always a danger for authors of popular series. Anyway, I'm glad he's back in form.
    AmateisGal likes this.
  8. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    TT, a short story can be anywhere from 1000 words (or maybe less, nowadays?) up to about 7500. Cross that border and you're into the territory of the Novelette, up to about 15-20K words. Then you venture into the Strange Land of the Novella (aka Short Novel), which extends its marches up to around 40-45K. Which is about where the Novel takes over; like Texas, it can be pretty big. (The foregoing written tongue-in-cheek; I'm just guessing at these figures. If anybody knows a formal set of markers for these, let us know.)

    I decided to switch the verbs around for the short story title. "Time to Remember and Forget" is, to me, more euphonious. Of course I run the risk of using a title somebody else has already used . . . but titles aren't copyrightable. Otherwise the title "Murder By the Book" wouldn't have been used so often.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2017
  9. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec Practically Family

    All that sounds about right.

    I'd say a "novel" runs between 50 to 120k words ... with the upper end limited to your publisher's patience and their consideration of whether it's good enough to pay off the investment in materials; which starts to pile up after 110k words or so. There are recommended lengths for various genres but they are only meaningful if you intend to REALLY hit the genre expectations on the nose. More important might be the difference between the preferred lengths of e-reader fans (on the shorter end) and whether you want to have a paperback that tried to defy the laws of physics. Personally I've made recommendations to publishers suggesting they cut down certain books because they will never be able to have an audience-satisfying paperback, it'll either be too huge to read and will fall apart because the glue strip is so wide or it'll end up with type that is too small.

    It's always worth doing some research. From the 1950s thru the 2000 acceptable word counts went up based on the price point publishers were willing to charge. Early on a novel could be 120 pages to maybe 225 ... to be acceptable in paperback (where you used to make all your money if you were the least bit popular), then there was a sweet spot around 350 pgs for quite awhile with certain genres and authors tolerating longer works. Now it's a bit in chaos because, as mentioned, e-reader fans seem to like shorter works BUT the format can withstand any page count and, financially, longer works come at very little penalty to the publisher in E. A 700 page paperback is a pain to read is lasts a very short time. 400 to 500 work better. I haven't published anything that was page count critical recently (10 years) so I'm not up on it at all. Well, besides a comic book, which was so space critical it was in another universe.

    Short story word counts have a lot to do with the target publications. The word count is really a much more magazine oriented designation even though people still use it all the time in other areas. They know how much space they have to fill, how many columns they use, how many ads they will be breaking it with, how much art they want, where in the page they start, and all that. Magazines and news papers are like publishing in 3D ... 4D really, because they are always on a deadline! Again, research. I wish I was more up on all of this.
  10. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    Tiki Tom,

    Nobody has posted a guess, so I'll reveal that the "Innocent" couple in the U.N.C.L.E. story are C.C. "Bud" Baxter, the aspiring executive, and Fran Kubelik, the elevator operator, from Billy Wilder's The Apartment (1960). I hope people who read my story can see Jack Lemmon and Shirley Maclaine in the roles!
  11. i'm trying to get this published, a short, short story


    oh if anyone can, can you test this link and post here if it's downloadable? It downloads fine from here but it's from my free windows storage and apparantly on some setups you have to click some icon or something.
  12. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    I was able to view it.
    KarlCrow likes this.
  13. thanks
  14. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    My current short story is advancing toward the rear with great alacrity. I think I have too many characters, and need to cut it down to 3 or 4. I can handle dialogue and action from more characters on the page -- but this story doesn't require more than that.
  15. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Sixth novel is DONE and now safely in the hands of my agent!

    Now I'm already researching my next project - a nonfiction work. Plus, I got an idea for the next novel and I can't wait to get started on it.
  16. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec Practically Family

    Good for you! I've never been able to say "safely in the hands of my agent!" but I get the meaning. I'm going back over some stuff that still has some time before editorial catches up with it and cleaning it up even more. I revised postscript for one book last night and all the colored lines and fields in the Microsoft Word mark up function nearly made me dizzy. It was like John Nash in A Beautiful Mind. Editors should think a bit before they make six notes where one would do ... or they should just write comprehensive notes in the note field without changing the text!
    AmateisGal likes this.
  17. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Practically Family

    The rejection slips are accumulating like popcorn on a sticky movie theater floor.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017
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  18. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    The story I mentioned above, which was then "advancing toward the rear" with such speed, is done at 5000 words, and my writing critique group will start on Part I of it tonight. In the meantime, I've moved on to another short story. It's going much better, and at 11 pages, I'm about halfway through it.
    AmateisGal likes this.
  19. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    The tale I mentioned on 9/25 is complete at 4700 words. It was inspired by a post in the "Old Gas Stations" thread in the "The Golden Era" sub-forum, about a town that sits exactly on the line between Texas and New Mexico . . . which started my imagination thinking about a line between worlds.
  20. Bushman

    Bushman Call Me a Cab

    What aren't I writing. I have a front of the book piece from an interview I did with a local community activist building a community center due Wednesday.. An interview for a paranormal blog being conducted tomorrow morning. A piece on a local art gallery due tomorrow afternoon. And I'm doing an investigation into some hellhole of a nursing home that's to be finished in 2 weeks. On top of that, I work weekends. I don't know where I'm finding the time to do all this.

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