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What are you Writing?

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

  1. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    No word from the agent on the novel; she is in Florida so I'm sure the hurricane messed up her schedule for awhile.

    I'm not writing anything yet because I'm in the research phase for my next novel AND my next nonfiction work which I have under contract.

    However! I am thinking of participating in NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month - in November where you try and write 50K words in one month. I would love to focus on my new novel in that time period as a way to continue my healing/recovery process from a toxic marriage. I think there's a great deal to be said for "burying" yourself in your creative work.
     
    Tiki Tom likes this.
  2. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Practically Family

    Been there, done that. Hang in there, AG. I guarantee it will get better. Be kind to yourself.
     
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  3. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Thanks, Tiki. The marriage blew up in my face in January (husband was unfaithful) and it's been a very hard 7 months. But I'm doing better!
     
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  4. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec Practically Family

    Book comes out October 24th. This must be a popular day for pre Christmas releases because I have two other friends, neither professional writers, who's publishers are releasing either on the same day or close to it. All three of these books have a "gift or holiday audience" unlike a thriller which tends to get late spring release appropriate for "vacation reading," but I was surprised to see the 24th so crowded ... how many more are coming out that day if I know of two besides myself?
     
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  5. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Practically Family

    Congratulations, Mike. I can appreciate the work that must have gone into that. Hats off to you. What genre is it? In my line of work there are a lot of year end deadlines associated with closing the financial books for the year. While october 24th might be associated with Christmas sales, it might also be necessary for closing the 2017 accounting books on time. The banality of bureaucracy and all that.

    As for me, I’ve written the check to CreateSpace for the whole nine yards to self-publish my Vienna Travelogue. Someone told me that self-publishing is even more shameful than resorting to a prostitute for sex. However, I’m trying to justify it by saying that it’s a bit of documentation of family history and I’m writing it for my kids. Still, I’m bracing myself for some smug comments from the peanut gallery. We’ll see.
     
  6. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Congratulations!!!
     
  7. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec Practically Family

    Thank you! Fingers crossed for luck!
     
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  8. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    Unless I had every detail of the novel plotted and knew the characters really well, if I tried writing 50K words in 30 days, I'd wind up like Jack Nicholson in Kubrick's The Shining. "All work and no play . . ."

    Still: You're right, that there is a lot to be said for diving into work-that-is-also-play.
     
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  9. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    I can't have every part of the novel plotted - just the main plot points is all I need to get me going. If I knew *everything* about the story, I'd be bored and wouldn't want to write it. ;)

    I love all the different processes we writers use. And in the end, we all accomplish the same goal: a finished story!
     
  10. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    My writing group has critiqued the first half of my latest short story (inspired by a post in the "Old Gas Stations" thread here on FL). Oddly enough, the member who likes my work but usually has a slew of critique items -- most of which boil down to a matter of stylistic choices, i.e., "I'd do it differently" -- liked it quite a bit and had very few suggestions to make. Maybe I ought to be worried. Anyway, they're due to tackle Part II, the conclusion, in 2 weeks.
     
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  11. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec Practically Family

    Interestingly, this is one of the major themes of the book I have out right now; exploring the limits of knowing what's going to be written versus searching for the story. Ambition vs practicality.

    I'm lost until I have that central "hinge point," or dilemma, figured out. I might be writing but I really don't know what it's "about." I'm quite a 'fraidy-cat about knowing what I'm up to and plan and agonize and such because it very easy for me to paint myself into a corner and then lose my momentum. But the really critical thing is the "hinge" (discussed many pages back), if I have that, the story is worth telling no matter how much trouble I get myself in.
     
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  12. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    Started the new novel last night as part of the NaNoWriMo challenge. Good grief. I felt like a bicycle that's been left out in the rain all summer - painfully rusty with very slow movement. I think the more I write, the better it will be.
     
  13. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Practically Family

    I agree that getting started is the hardest part. Then (for me) hours can vanish in the blink of an eye as I'm writing.
    Good luck on your new project... and be sure to let us know how quickly the word count climbs!
     
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  14. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    I always want to know the ending -- the basic ending, even if I don't have the details nailed down -- before I start. A recent short I finished gave me a lot of trouble -- losing momentum, as you put it so well -- because I was not sure in the early stages how it was going to work out for the main character. Once I figured that out, the writing went pretty well. But if I have that goal in mind, it sort of pulls me toward it.
     
  15. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec Practically Family

    It sure doesn't hurt to know where you are going! The Hinge or Dilemma usually puts me in the ball park. A "He realizes he cannot trust his father," hinge tends to assure a "He discovers he can trust his father but not necessarily in the way he thought," ending. I guess the Hinge leads to the Concept of what the ending is, which leaves the actual ending scenes open to the evolution of the story. I'm still figuring it out but I keep discovering it both in my own work and in that of others. I see it subtly appear about half way through many of the better TV episodes, though I never remember hearing any TV writers discussing it. That's typical. Writers do all sorts of stuff that works but they don't know what it is. Figuring out what "it" is (whatever it is) can really help you when you get lost.
     
  16. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    A new vignette of mine has popped up on an online magazine. Ignore the pen name; I wanted it to be separate from my usual crime or fantasy-horror offerings. Short and funny: http://beneaththerainbow.com/human-holidaze/
     
  17. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Practically Family

    I enjoyed that, Benz.
    I’ve always admired cats for the way they seem to arrogantly look down their noses at us humans. So it struck me as right that your cats were referring to people as manservants and maidservants. On the one hand, I think you could have done a lot more with this (maybe sent the felines on a quest), but on the other hand I liked its shortness... like a nice cat treat.

    You’ve got quite a range... from cold blooded hit men to talking cats.
     
  18. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Practically Family

    Whaddya think? Are the first two sentences (the hook) of the following query letter fair game, or are they poor salesmanship?

    Dear Ms. XXX (literary agent),

    One year from now, in November 2018, the same people who produced the 2014 blockbuster "Freedom," starring Cuba Gooding Jr., will release a new hit film, "The islands", dealing with Hawaiian history. Now is the time to leverage the popular interest in Hawai'i that the movie will generate.

    My fiction novel, "Trouble has Landed", is a Hawaiian murder mystery that starts with the shooting of Jimmy Cho in Honolulu's Chinatown. It quickly becomes apparent that the antique dealer's death is related to either a missing memoir dating back to the days of King Kamehameha or a mysterious shipment of rifles that Jimmy acted as middle man for. The plot takes the reader through Hawaiian history, modern espionage, big wave surfing, and local culture and issues. "Trouble has Landed" is a fun read because it brings together a very sympathetic ohana of investigators including:
    • Teresa, aka "Trouble", who pilots a seaplane out of Ke'ehi Lagoon;
    • Matt, a malihini (newcomer to Hawai'i) from Minnesota;
    • Conrad; Chief Anthropologist at the Bishop Museum and Teresa's adoptive father;
    • Lieutenant Ka’ana’ana of the Honolulu Police Department; and
    • Nannette, the 94 year old owner of a notorious tiki bar who witnessed Pearl Harbor.
    These main characters have a lot of "chemistry" and readers will think of them as local family. The story sweeps the reader along with visits to a remote lesser-known island (Nihoa), jungle treks, tramp freighters, spies, history, a touch of the supernatural, a bit of romance, and more. The ending includes an eye-opening theory about ancient Hawaiian voyaging that will create a buzz. Finally, "Trouble has Landed" was written with cultural sensitivity and with over 30 years of experience in Hawai'i.

    Status: Complete and edited. Word count: 72,000
    Bio: XXX

    As per your submission guidelines, please find the first 10 pages (Chapter one) of "Trouble has Landed" pasted below. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you wish to review the complete manuscript or have questions.

    Thank you for your time. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.
    Best regards and aloha,
    Tiki Tom​

    So far I've sent it out twenty times over the past 4 months (with zero responses). I'm wondering how I can improve this spiel while also keeping it short.
     
  19. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    Oh, it's just one of several mini-scenes I've written about these three. And it's odd that you suggest a quest. I do have in mind a story where two of them get separated from the third and from their humans, and encounter other animals and some dangers!
     
  20. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    Tom, the paragraph about leveraging interest in Hawaii, I think, should come later in the query. I don't think "chemistry" needs to be in quotes. And "fiction novel" is kind of redundant, as novels are fiction by definition. (I could be wrong about that, as there could be a genre now of "non-fiction novel"; I'm pretty sure I've seen the phrase. I don't agree that there can be such a thing, but editors/agents may think otherwise.) Overall it seems as though it should be effective.
     
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