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Writer's World

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Re: Writer's World

Postby FencerforJesus » May 13, 2012 8:11 pm

Time to bump this thread.

I am leaving for the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference tomorrow night. I've been waiting for this for four years and now it finally is not in conflict with Finals week. (I didn't have Finals anyway this year). I am praying God will connect me with an agent or a publisher that will really be able to take my book to wider audiences. I am ready for it to go out much farther than my personal circles with word-of-mouth from there. I'm still working on the editing/revision of my sequel and this summer I plan to knock it out. God is good and I can't wait to see what he does this week.
Be watching for the release of my spiritual warfare novel under a new title: "Call to Arms" by OakTara Publishing. A sequel (title TBD) will shortly follow.
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Ithilwen » May 14, 2012 2:58 pm

Good luck with your book, Fencer! :)

Right now, I'm working on the planning stages of a fantasy novel as well as a Sci-fi series. :)

I'm also considering doing Camp NaNo this June. :-? Is anyone else doing it then?


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Re: Writer's World

Postby FencerforJesus » May 21, 2012 7:12 am

The Colorado Christian Writer's Conference has come and gone. There is no way I can justify what went on during the conference in one post. There is just too much. But here are some of the highlights. I took a 'continuing session' on suspense and thrillers with Robert Liparulo, who has become a hot thriller writers (he is a believer, but he tends to write to the mainstream audiences). There wasn't a whole not that he covered that I didn't already have come clue on, but most of that was because we couldn't get into too much details for time sake.

I learned A LOT about the publishing industry itself. I learned that is it not wise to use self-publishing as a spring-board to a larger, traditional publisher. Not for the same book. Of course I had to learn this the hard way, not knowing any better. But that being said, one publisher there, Oak Tara, did express an interest in my manuscript for my spiritual warfare novel, Battle Cry: Adventures in the Kingdom of Heaven. For them to take it, I will have to change the Title (it was a working title that I simply didn't find anything better for a while) and likely make so changes to the book. The reason why publishers won't 're-publish' (among others) is that when a customer goes to search for a title and they find two titles by the same author by different publishers, it leads to confusion and that's NOT good. So pray God's will is made clear as I get my manuscript ready to submit to Oak Tara Publishing.

One of the joys I had during the conference was the "Square Peg Society". It is a group for Christian fiction that does NOT do the traditional "Amish Romance" that is the standard for a Christian fiction book. It is for a group of writer's that think outside the box and seek to break the rules. The founder is an author of Christian horror (hard to believe, but after talking with him, I completely understand his perspective). He truly understands the role of the villain of a story and how an author can use the villain to tell the story that could not be told otherwise. I always knew a good villain is crucial to the success of a story, but I learned how to dig deeper into the villain and use him (or her) to bring out issues that I personally struggle with, or issues I want to see dealt with, but issues that I might not be able to talk about in the open. Also, the stronger the villain, the greater the hero.

That is a BRIEF summary of what went on during this conference. It was really cool and I am still processing a lot of it.
Be watching for the release of my spiritual warfare novel under a new title: "Call to Arms" by OakTara Publishing. A sequel (title TBD) will shortly follow.
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Ithilwen » May 26, 2012 1:24 pm

I'd like some advice.

My weak point in my writing is my descriptions. Not that I have difficulty describing things... it's more the way I describe things. I can see my mental picture really clearly, and describe it in detail. But the description is very.... blunt and dry. Like if I described the colors in a sunset, it might go something like, "At the bottom of the sky was the setting sun. Above that, a layer of reddish sky. Orange sky was on top of that. And then pink was the final color before the rest of the sky faded into the black of night." :| I mean, you can picture it. You know what the colors are. But it's worded as dryly as an instruction manual. :P

And then I see other descriptions in books, which describes the sky with all this imagery. Curtains of this, swirls of that. I think Tolkien even used cherubs in his description of a sunset once.

So, I guess my question is... how can I learn to do that? I don't know why I'm so lacking in imagination in this part of writing. I don't have this problem with the other parts of novel writing. I just can't seem to be able to think of any way to describe it than just plain coming out and dryly saying it. I can recognize a good description in a book when I see it. But coming up with my own is another thing.

My mental images are really clear. I can see, feel, hear, smell everything in the setting. But how do I learn to state it in a way that is more... beautiful and less dry?


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Re: Writer's World

Postby FencerforJesus » May 26, 2012 3:12 pm

The first advice I have to use action verbs. You use the phrase "at the bottom of the sky was the setting sun". The words "at the bottom of the sky" is redundant. A setting sun alone covers that whole line. When the sun sets, what happens to the sky? What happens to the clouds? Try describing it from that perspective.

Another thing I discussed at the conference is Point of View. We all know about 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, person perspectives, but one thing that I didn't realize that was cool. Any fiction author will tell you that when you write from the perspective of a character, you only describe what that character can see, hear, feel, touch, think, etc. And that being said, a tendency of many authors is to take a character and use his/her view to describe the setting around them. I will illustrate with this.

Let's take a short eight-grader (about 12 years old) trying out for a basketball team. One description has him step into the gym, look at the posters and banner hanging from the rafters, look at a group of girls chatting from the stands, the other boys practicing and drilling, noticing the overall view of the setting. The question is, would this boy do this? Very likely not. He would zoom in on his competition immediately and not take notice of the surroundings of the gym. He wouldn't see the banners or the girls in the stands. Some other characters would do that. The point is when you are in the head of one character, only describe what that character would see. Some do take in their surroundings and others have tunnel vision from the outset. Know what your character would do.

I hope this helps.
Be watching for the release of my spiritual warfare novel under a new title: "Call to Arms" by OakTara Publishing. A sequel (title TBD) will shortly follow.
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Ithilwen » May 26, 2012 3:26 pm

FencerforJesus wrote:The words "at the bottom of the sky" is redundant.

That was just a quick example sentence I wrote for the post. It isn't from my novel or anything. The point I'm trying to make with it is that my descriptions are very dry. They have a "to the left was this, to the right was that" kind of set-up. And I don't want my prose to have that kind of structure.

Thanks for the advice about point of view. But what I'm more looking for is how to get better at describing things. Not choosing what to describe and what not to describe. Where I would say, "It was red", other people might say, "It was red like a freshly picked cherry." That's a really bad example, but that's the thing. I'm not creative with descriptions - not even enough to make a good example sentence in this post. So, I'm trying to figure out, how do I learn to give more creative descriptions?


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Re: Writer's World

Postby MountainFireflower » May 26, 2012 3:53 pm

Ithilwen wrote:I'm also considering doing Camp NaNo this June. :-? Is anyone else doing it then?


I am! I'm looking forward to it, though my plot is only half-there and I barely have an outline. 8-} Ah, such is the life of a writer. Hopefully I can get myself together in time. ;))

If you do Camp NaNo in June, what would your genre be, Ithie? I'll probably be writing about superheroes, oddly enough. ;)) I've never tried doing that sort of thing before, so it'll be a fun challenge.

Any other participants in Camp NaNo are more than welcome to add me on the site. As it stands right now, I haven't been able to figure out a way to add each other, but maybe the option will become available when the event begins. If so, my username is ScarlettGamgee.
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Ithilwen » May 26, 2012 4:11 pm

MountainFireflower wrote:If you do Camp NaNo in June, what would your genre be, Ithie?

I plan to attempt June NaNo this year. And as odd as it sounds, my genre will be "suspense comedy". :P ;))


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Re: Writer's World

Postby Meltintalle » May 28, 2012 11:51 am

Ithilwen wrote:But how do I learn to state it in a way that is more... beautiful and less dry?


I can think of a few of pieces of advice. First, write down descriptions of what you see at sunset for a month. Or something like an apple. Just do the same exercise every day and try to pull out something different each time. Like everything else, pertinent descriptions come with practice.

Second, read poetry. Be aware of other ways to describe things.

Third, like Fencer suggested, consider what your characters are thinking, and look for adjectives and word pictures that fit the mood of the scene. If it's a deciding moment when the hero is going to give up the debating club to try out for football, he's probably not going to see the sunset as "cotton candy clouds drifting lazily across the sun" but "wisps of cloud surrounded the setting sun like a collection of third string runningbacks." Pardon the rubbish example, I should have picked something I knew more about, but I hope you see what I mean? The first description suggests a relaxed summer evening when you're looking forward to something fun the next day, and the other is melodramatic.

Good descriptions help move a story forward by setting a scene and mood. If they're just there to pad the word count or to show off the pretty pose you can write, no matter how good they are, they're going to end up feeling dry.

I should take my own advice. :p
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Re: Writer's World

Postby wild rose » May 29, 2012 7:43 am

Ithilwen wrote:I'm also considering doing Camp NaNo this June. :-? Is anyone else doing it then?


I'm doing CampNaNo :) my username is Apye, if anyone wants to be cabin mates with me :) June is going to be a crazy month, cause I have exams and a dance festival coming up, but I still really want to do it, I haven't really written anything since April Screnzy :)
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Narnian_Badger » Jun 13, 2012 4:18 pm

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Re: Writer's World

Postby Fire Fairy » Jun 14, 2012 10:34 pm

Ithilwen, here's a blog post by Gail Carson Levine that might help you out:

http://gailcarsonlevine.blogspot.com/2012/06/detailing.html?showComment=1339225877143#c5950778516342226296
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Ithilwen » Jun 17, 2012 2:42 am

Thanks for the links. :)

I had another question -- this time concerning CreateSpace.

I don't want to self-publish my novel. I want to publish it the old fashioned way -- someday. Probably after a few drafts and rewrites, when I'm older. But I'd really like to have just one or two copies of my first draft in book form, just for my own use at home and for the novelty of it. Can I do that with CreateSpace? And if so, is there any danger in doing this? I hear that if you order a copy using CreateSpace, they assign your book an ISBN number. Can that ISBN number cause problems later when I try to publish for real? Because all I want is a copy just for fun. Is there any possibility that ordering a copy of my first draft from CreateSpace could come back to bite me somehow in the future?

Also, does anyone know anything about Lightning Source?

If the ISBN number, or something else, will cause a problem, is there some other method of getting a copy of my draft in book form? Is there a way I can make my own?


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Re: Writer's World

Postby FencerforJesus » Jun 17, 2012 6:12 am

If you get an ISBN number, you are published. And as I learned the hard way, DO NOT self-publish if you intend to latter go with a traditional publisher later on for the same book. The book MUST be a hot-seller (like Christopher Paloni's Inheritance Trilogy was). Exceptions are always found and I will see shortly if I have God's favor with Oak Tara with my book. I am published through Lighthouse Publishing and they are basically just a front using CreateSpace. If you plug your book into CreateSpace, you are considered self-published and you will find a difficult time getting a traditional publisher to pick you up.

I don't not know how you could print your book (outside Kinkos) without going this way.
Be watching for the release of my spiritual warfare novel under a new title: "Call to Arms" by OakTara Publishing. A sequel (title TBD) will shortly follow.
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Ithilwen » Jun 17, 2012 1:11 pm

FencerforJesus wrote:I don't not know how you could print your book (outside Kinkos) without going this way.

Kinkos will print out my draft in novel form?

Also, I have an account on the CreateSpace website, but I've never used it to print out a book. Can having an (unused) account on there hurt me? Like, if I were going to publish, could the publisher find out I have an account there, think I had tried to self-publish, and decide not to publish me? Because I don't know if there's any way to delete my account on there...


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Re: Writer's World

Postby Meltintalle » Jun 17, 2012 1:27 pm

Ithilwen, by making your own, do you mean something like this? (I think the easiest way to start would be to focus on Coptic stitch variants)
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