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What are you Writing?

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,718
Location
vancouver, canada
George Jonas passed away this weekend. He is an icon of Canadian letters and we shan't see his like pass this way again.
He was 80 and ill for some time so not a shock but it does not lessen the loss.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,718
Location
vancouver, canada
Just remember that any good idea they think you had, it's your whether you thought of it or not because you inspired their imagination in that direction ... and that's what it all about. It's always best to get a couple of people and discover where the similarities in opinion lie. But that means you need three or more reliable readers. At the moment I have none. My editor just quit to work at another company and I could only partly trust her because she'd always give me the party line from the publisher. The party line is not such an issue with fiction but about 80% of my work this year and next is non fiction so it's a bit trickier.

Good luck and keep writing!!!
Thank you, another nugget! I have one more reader lined up. I chose the two so far as they don't know me really well but I do know they are avid fiction readers. It will be a great "test" to see if I have communicated the story as it resides inside my head.
 

MikeKardec

One Too Many
Messages
1,147
Location
Los Angeles
It just goes to show that you are never done ... or I am never done. Well, I thought I was done with the Introduction then I put it down for a few days and now I'm rolling my eyes thinking it's too long so I'm back at it, killing my darlings and trying to reduce it by 20%, Sheesh!

The up side is that I'm done with the rest of the book and when I deliver it to Random House it will be three books delivered in the last 14 months (that sounds great but I've really been working on this stuff on and off for years), then I can relax a bit. Try to find a new project to get myself in trouble with.

Back at it ...
 

AmateisGal

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,029
Location
Nebraska
It just goes to show that you are never done ... or I am never done. Well, I thought I was done with the Introduction then I put it down for a few days and now I'm rolling my eyes thinking it's too long so I'm back at it, killing my darlings and trying to reduce it by 20%, Sheesh!

The up side is that I'm done with the rest of the book and when I deliver it to Random House it will be three books delivered in the last 14 months (that sounds great but I've really been working on this stuff on and off for years), then I can relax a bit. Try to find a new project to get myself in trouble with.

Back at it ...

Because we writers rarely give ourselves kudos for a job well done, I'm going to give you some kudos, Mike. Soon-to-be three books in the last 14 months to Random House? That is huge! Well done!!!
 

MikeKardec

One Too Many
Messages
1,147
Location
Los Angeles
Because we writers rarely give ourselves kudos for a job well done, I'm going to give you some kudos, Mike. Soon-to-be three books in the last 14 months to Random House? That is huge! Well done!!!

Thank you! Dad did his share too! I think about 400 of the roughly 1000 pages are mine, plus the editorial and all the technical publishing bits. But, like I said, I've been developing the grater vision of this project, which also additionally includes re-releasing about 40 books with added materials of various sorts (I wrote some of or at least made sense of some of that too) for about ten years. It's just that as things close in on their final form there is a sense of ... acceleration. It's always a bit bewildering. They just gave me a new production person to work with. That means I have to try and remember everything she's going to have to know because I have no idea if the woman who just left the company communicated it all before she took off. I like the technical stuff but this is a bit over the top.
 

MikeKardec

One Too Many
Messages
1,147
Location
Los Angeles
This material was pretty easy because I was either reacting to or improving on what my father had already written. I think I mentioned that thing about having a dialog with the material, well it's just a ton easier to write when you have something to react to ... whether that is your first draft or someone else's, like in this case. Getting that first draft of something, like a piece of fiction, done is a lot harder. There is also a LOT of preparation that went into this project. My sources are all in a database (created both for this project and other reasons), I know the subject (my father's life and career) inside and out and I created sort of a beta test version, you might call it another sort of first draft, years ago. There's nothing like attacking a writing project from several angles to improve you vision of the story.

Last spring I finished a Radio Drama that went through a significant version of that "several angles" thing. It was originally a substandard short story written by my Dad (even pros have their off days). I rewrote it, going from his 18 pages to about 80 pages or so for a short story collection we published back in 1999. Then I sold it as a film to USA Network and got to write the screenplay and produce it (in reality this is a LOT less romantic and impressive than it sounds ... a LOT!). After quite a while I had the opportunity to produce one last Radio Drama, I used to do these regularly in the '90s, and I chose to revisit this same story, telling it a third time as an audio. Each iteration, prose, film and then audio, brought more out of it. It's pretty amazing how much just reattacking the same material and being willing to take it and the characters seriously improved things ... it was literally something that Dad had thrown in a box with a "well that's not good enough, I'm moving on."

I'm not saying it's not right to abandon a project, sometimes it is ... but in this case being challenged by all the different requirements of the different mediums REALLY opened up the "dialog" I was having with the work; it got me to see it from angles unavailable to others.

A word of caution to anyone thinking that trying different formats as a key to unlocking a story, while I am not a great writer in any of these mediums I am just good enough to understand their requirements as a sort of a 'low end' professional. In most cases it's probably best to just keep plugging away at doing a good job in prose.
 

Benzadmiral

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,815
Location
The Swamp
Just finished a short story set in the Old West, a "Weird West" tale which is a rewrite with necessary changes to a fantasy tale I penned some years ago. A couple members of my writing group seemed to think my fantasy work already bordered on the "Weird West" genre. (I didn't know there was a separate genre. A good shorthand for the concept is "Billy the Kid Vs. Dracula," I suppose.) But it was fun doing the research and using settings I knew when I lived in CO and visited TX and NM.
 

AmateisGal

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,029
Location
Nebraska
Just finished a short story set in the Old West, a "Weird West" tale which is a rewrite with necessary changes to a fantasy tale I penned some years ago. A couple members of my writing group seemed to think my fantasy work already bordered on the "Weird West" genre. (I didn't know there was a separate genre. A good shorthand for the concept is "Billy the Kid Vs. Dracula," I suppose.) But it was fun doing the research and using settings I knew when I lived in CO and visited TX and NM.

Never heard of the "Weird West" genre, but I like the sound of it!
 

AmateisGal

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,029
Location
Nebraska
This material was pretty easy because I was either reacting to or improving on what my father had already written. I think I mentioned that thing about having a dialog with the material, well it's just a ton easier to write when you have something to react to ... whether that is your first draft or someone else's, like in this case. Getting that first draft of something, like a piece of fiction, done is a lot harder. There is also a LOT of preparation that went into this project. My sources are all in a database (created both for this project and other reasons), I know the subject (my father's life and career) inside and out and I created sort of a beta test version, you might call it another sort of first draft, years ago. There's nothing like attacking a writing project from several angles to improve you vision of the story.

Last spring I finished a Radio Drama that went through a significant version of that "several angles" thing. It was originally a substandard short story written by my Dad (even pros have their off days). I rewrote it, going from his 18 pages to about 80 pages or so for a short story collection we published back in 1999. Then I sold it as a film to USA Network and got to write the screenplay and produce it (in reality this is a LOT less romantic and impressive than it sounds ... a LOT!). After quite a while I had the opportunity to produce one last Radio Drama, I used to do these regularly in the '90s, and I chose to revisit this same story, telling it a third time as an audio. Each iteration, prose, film and then audio, brought more out of it. It's pretty amazing how much just reattacking the same material and being willing to take it and the characters seriously improved things ... it was literally something that Dad had thrown in a box with a "well that's not good enough, I'm moving on."

I'm not saying it's not right to abandon a project, sometimes it is ... but in this case being challenged by all the different requirements of the different mediums REALLY opened up the "dialog" I was having with the work; it got me to see it from angles unavailable to others.

A word of caution to anyone thinking that trying different formats as a key to unlocking a story, while I am not a great writer in any of these mediums I am just good enough to understand their requirements as a sort of a 'low end' professional. In most cases it's probably best to just keep plugging away at doing a good job in prose.

I have a novel I've tried to write twice now - and have abandoned twice. I don't know if it's because it's a thriller and I am not ready to write a thriller yet or what. But I absolutely love the story and the characters. It drives me batty that I get stuck on this manuscript again and again. I have it plotted out and I quite like it - but for the life of me, I cannot make the thing work. It just might be one of those manuscripts I pick up a few years from now and finally be "ready" to write it.
 

MikeKardec

One Too Many
Messages
1,147
Location
Los Angeles
I have a novel I've tried to write twice now - and have abandoned twice. I don't know if it's because it's a thriller and I am not ready to write a thriller yet or what. But I absolutely love the story and the characters. It drives me batty that I get stuck on this manuscript again and again. I have it plotted out and I quite like it - but for the life of me, I cannot make the thing work. It just might be one of those manuscripts I pick up a few years from now and finally be "ready" to write it.

There's a lot of truth in that "finally ready to write it" thing. Some times it just feels like procrastination but you are working on it at some level. I think it's a good idea to take it out and play with it a bit occasionally to keep your unconscious aware of your conscious interest. To use a sports metaphor, the conscious trains the unconscious, then gets out of the way during the game.

This whole huge project I'm working on is all about the stuff my Dad abandoned throughout his career (two of the three books) and the stuff he didn't (notes and early drafts to be included with commentary in the novel that they pertain to. The Old Pros deal with whether they are ready to write something all the time. I've got one or two like you describe myself, something is just not ready ... soon enough I'll probably need to figure out how to make myself ready.
 

AmateisGal

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,029
Location
Nebraska
There's a lot of truth in that "finally ready to write it" thing. Some times it just feels like procrastination but you are working on it at some level. I think it's a good idea to take it out and play with it a bit occasionally to keep your unconscious aware of your conscious interest. To use a sports metaphor, the conscious trains the unconscious, then gets out of the way during the game.

This whole huge project I'm working on is all about the stuff my Dad abandoned throughout his career (two of the three books) and the stuff he didn't (notes and early drafts to be included with commentary in the novel that they pertain to. The Old Pros deal with whether they are ready to write something all the time. I've got one or two like you describe myself, something is just not ready ... soon enough I'll probably need to figure out how to make myself ready.

I actually looked at it last night - but it must have been too soon because the same, overwhelming feeling took hold of me almost instantly. Nope, not ready for me to tackle yet. :D
 

MikeKardec

One Too Many
Messages
1,147
Location
Los Angeles
I WISHED I could have done that with this introduction! But I had to make it GO AWAY. Nearly done now, the last two paragraphs to make sense of ... I'm trying to make a couple of quotes make perfect, rather than approximate sense, and then it'll be over ... sort of. You know, it's never over until they pry it from my cold, dead, fingers. With this in the bag it's just a mess of short articles/essays for awhile and research ... I need to find a believable (though likely not real) technology that could have been invented in Nazi Germany that has as much promise and as much danger as atomic energy. Like I said, probably not real or we'd be using it today. Anyway, without that this next book doesn't work ... at least not the way I want it to.
 

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