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Re: Writer's World

PostPosted: Oct 05, 2009 9:17 am
by FencerforJesus
It is very exciting to have my book so close. I just simply can't afford to go this route at this time. I know God's timing is perfect. He is never, ever late, but he is also very rarely early. I could have gone ahead with this, but it would have been of my own doing and would easily have been seen as me trying to make it happen. I wrote this book to further God's Kingdom, not to make money, or to become famout. So I am going to wait for God to launch it at his timing.

My book is a fictional depiction of spiritual warfare. I sought to paint a picture that spiritual warfare is something everyone deals with, regardless of who they are and nobody is safe from it. The story line focuses on a small church youth group as they become the first targets of an evil plot to eliminate the Christian presence from thier city. But unlike many stories of this type, the heroes are not the church leaders, but the youth themeselves. One, James Proctor, finds himself to be the centerpiece of the attack. Another, Peter Saxon, is recruited by both sides, and he is forced to jump off the fence and decide once and for all which side he is on. The story deals heavily in the activity of the demonic, as the characters confront demons head-to-head. A number of plot points are based heavily on true stories and come together for a climatic showdown.

It has been a blast working on this novel and while waiting for God's timing, I am working on my sequel, which will take the concepts I established in the first, and expand on them. The sequel will not only deal with the demonic side of spiritual warfare, it will also expand into the battles we have against the things of the world and with our own sin. I am already 95 pages (single spaced) into that one. But due to my schedule this semester, I have not be able to work on it at the rate I would like.

Gotta run to class.

Re: Writer's World

PostPosted: Oct 05, 2009 4:13 pm
by NaiadWaker
Your story line sounds very intruiging. I love books with plots similar to the one you're describing. I hope to read your novel soon! Love the wording of "climatic showdown."

Re: Writer's World

PostPosted: Oct 11, 2009 4:49 pm
by Danny93
Hey, I have a question about a poem I found in a stack of old papers, and was wondering if it's an original. I don't want to steal anyone else's work, so please tell me if you know anything about this. I don't know if the words are exactly right.....

Any young child can tell a story,
so this is why I'm here to say,
Jesus died upon the cross,
and rose again on Easter day.

Any information would be appreciated! Thanks!


Re: Writer's World

PostPosted: Oct 11, 2009 5:03 pm
by FencerforJesus
That does sound familiar to me, but I can't remember where. So I can't really help you too much.

I think I know what my next step is going to be on my book. I received another e-mail from American Christian Writers (who does self-publishing) and they recommended looking up a writing conference. I've been looking at one for two years but couldn't get to it due to scheduling, so I think this year I am going to make a concerted effort to find one. I think that's the best option for me unless God brings something else before me.

Re: Writer's World

PostPosted: Nov 11, 2009 12:12 pm
by NaiadWaker
Good luck finding a conference, FFJ!!! Hope I can get to the point where you are with my book... The motivation of NanoWrimo helps!

Re: Writer's World

PostPosted: Nov 11, 2009 4:06 pm
by FencerforJesus
There is absolutely no way I could do NaNo this year. My schedule is so busy, I'm having a hard time doing my other normal activities (like fencing practice) let alone attempt NaNo. For me it's just the timing of it. Put it in the summer, and I'll ace through it with flying colors.

I did find a conference that I want to go to, but I have to wait until the first part of next semester before I can register. It's at the end of Finals week and I need to make sure I can get all my finals finished in time to move me out of my apartment and get up to Estes Park, Colorado where the conference is held. But I am certain that is my next step to take for my book at this time.

Re: Writer's World

PostPosted: Nov 11, 2009 4:34 pm
by Fire Fairy
First, I would like to give a BIG thank-you to NaiadWaker, who let me know about this thread!! :ymhug: I had no idea it even existed! I'll definitely be coming back here quite often!

I've read through all of the posts, and I think NaNo sounds very interesting. Too bad I just found out about it, or I probably would have joined. Maybe next year.

FencerforJesus, I'd like to congratulate you for your efforts! I've never had a book published yet, but I must say it's a big accomplishment to write a book that's good enough for more than one publisher to be interested in it! :ymapplause: Good luck with that!

Okay, now that that's been said, since I am new here, I would like to introduce myself. I'm a full-time college student, but I have been writing seriously since seventh grade, although I have yet to finish a book. Currently I am working on a Young Adult Fiction novel called The Thunder Curse. It's about a girl that is cursed so that during a thunderstorm, after the third thunderclap, she becomes a demon. I have about 24,000 words so far...I used to think that was a great accomplishment, but after hearing about NaNo, I now know that I'm slow! I've been working on this one since my sophomore year in High School, and I'm only on the first draft! Does anyone have any suggestions to help me speed things up a bit? Also, I would appreciate any advice on the revision process. I'm not very good at going back and rewriting what's already done.

Anyways, I am very excited to have found fellow writers that actually know what they are talking about!!

Re: Writer's World

PostPosted: Nov 11, 2009 5:40 pm
by FencerforJesus
Welcome to NarniaWeb and the Writer's World thread, Fire Fairy. First, I would like to encourage you that you are not the only one who has had a story in thier heads for years and are just barely starting to see it come together. I too am a full-time college student, (with a multitude of extra-curricular activities) so I know what a full schedule it like. It took me 2 1/2 years from my first draft of this particular story to where I am at now, but it was basically built upon something I have attempted to do since I was in Jr. High (7th/8th grades). That was over 12/13 years ago.

My biggest weakness then was that I was a master at Molly Sue, a character that is essentially you, the author. I couldn't get myself out of the story and what's even worse, I couldn't come up with any other characters other than people I knew. I would do draft after draft, improving only on a few scenes, but was never able to get any decent character development. Hey, I hardly even knew what that was back then, let alone try to implement it.

Writing took off for me about three years ago, when I critiqued a novel a friend of mine had written. He suggested I do it as well, and for the first time, I made a conscious effort to keep myself out of my writing. It worked and in three months I had a 280 page first draft of an action thriller. But then God told me to put it aside and work on this novel. 2 1/2 years later, it is ready to go, waiting for God's timing.

Just because I write fast, doesn't mean anyone else needs to. Last year, I saw a couple 400k's, and dare I say, I think I even saw a 500k winner. And I though 50k was reasonable. If you can't write that fast, don't worry about it. You say you have 24k so far. Do you think the story is nearly done? If so, it might make a very nice novella (short novel). I wouldn't recommend stretching it out for the sake of length. Put what the story needs in and leave out what doesn't do something to establish character or advance the plot. This is a big challenge for both novels and movies when it comes to action scenes. Pirates of the Carribean 2 has a fine example. There is a great action scene early on where Will and Jack have to escape an island of cannibals. But the 15-minute scene does nothing to advance the plot but put the character's together. It definately could have been seriously cut down.

That's just an example. I recommend plowing through your first draft all the way to the end. That way you will get an idea of where you story will want to go, give you a chance to get to know your characters even better, and give you that feeling that every author wants to have: the joy of having a completed work. Once you finish the first draft, set a side for a little while and come back to it, seeing if your character's would really make these decisions or not and stuff like that. I strongly suggest that you do NOT just work on one scene before the whole thing is finished until it is perfect. One, you will never finish at that rate. Two, you never know if that scene will need to move or change as you write, so if you make it perfect, you will have lost the time if that ends up being the case.

I'd say a little more, but I have to go. Welcome to Narnia Web and I look forward to seeing you around.

Re: Writer's World

PostPosted: Nov 11, 2009 8:46 pm
by Fire Fairy
Thank you for that sound advice, FencerforJesus. I actually just got back from a writer's workshop for the first time, where I presented my prologue and a bit of the first chapter. You and the people there have given me wonderful advice, and I appreciate it.

You asked me how far in the storyline 24k was. It's actually only just beginning. I'm convinced that the story in my head is way too big for one book. I can forsee it becoming a Trilogy; however, at this point, it's very hard to say. I think I need to cut down on some of my scenes. You are very right about action scenes and all that. A problem I've run across, though, is my novel turning into a travel log. I don't say "they went here, then there, etc.", but the main characters' travels have kind of strayed from the original storyline, and the plot just kind of died. Because of that, I've recently cut out an entire city from their travels, so I can get back to the point. I was a little disappointed, because I was wanting my character to learn a lot from this city, but it ended up being too distracting. I will take your advice, though, and not make any serious revisions until I have finished the first draft. That probably will make things a lot easier. Again, thank you for your advice and encouragement. :)

Re: Writer's World

PostPosted: Nov 11, 2009 9:07 pm
by Lady Galadriel
I might know a little in how you feel about having to cut out scenes, Fire Fairy; in one of my stories I am having some trouble. (I have a feeling the story I'm writing is getting too longwinded, you see, although that's not my concern at the moment.)

My problem is: in the story I am working on, I had a set plan, and it by itself diverted from the set scenes on me (It's not straying from the actual plot, it's just straying from the way I had planned to draw the story's conclusion in a major way). Now I have no clue whether to follow the different way it seems to be taking (because I am almost clueless on what will happen then), or whether I should go back and edit several pages to go the way I originally planned. *shakes head* Does anyone have any "general" advice for this kind of situation, or am I not making sense? I know it's vague.

Re: Writer's World

PostPosted: Nov 11, 2009 10:01 pm
by jbc003
I find myself in a simliar position Lady Galadriel. I think I still know where I want it to end but...from scene to scene I just kind of go with the flow. I don't know how that will look in the end but we'll just have to see.

My advice would be do what you feel is can always rewrite it later.


Re: Writer's World

PostPosted: Nov 11, 2009 10:18 pm
by FencerforJesus
Some of the troubles I had was that I wrote on the fly. I made up the story as I went along. I'm sure you can see already where trouble comes in by the time you get to editing. One small chance dominos through the whole rest of the story. I've even had to cut out some characters because they simply didn't add anything to the story. Of course I didn't completely destroy them, because they came in handy for the sequel I am currently working on.

In regards to length and trilogies. This is a dangeous field that can easily go wrong. There are two types of trilogies, and so far I have really only seen one work successfully: Lord of the Rings. Lord of the Rings fits in one type of trilogy where it is not three books, but really one very long one split into three parts. The other types of trilogies are often seen in movies. For example, Pirates of the Carribean and Matrix. The first movie was a solid stand-alone. Then they decided to make trilogies, where the 2nd and 3rd are really parts 1 and 2 of one story. This set up has not worked very well. The real challenge of making sequels and trilogies is to avoid the mere same story, same characters only bigger and better. This usually doesn't work. A sequel needs to be an independent story, even if a lot of it ties into the first. For example, the sequel I am working on does a lot more than just take the stuff from the first. It adds new characters, takes what was established, and takes on a whole new perspective of the world around them. And I actually have significantly fewer actions scenes in the sequel than I do in the first.

Travel Logs: I have only seen one successful attempt at long trips with little action in a story. Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Eustace creates a travel log book in which the reader gets to see what happens through his eyes. Use that time to develop the characters. If they are traveling in a group, use thier interactions to show a history behind one that will affect future events, or show a bonding between certain characters, or a rift between others. But use those interactions in the events later on to show where these characters came from and where they are at that point.

A Story with its Own Legs: This happens frequently to an author. I intentionally let it happen to mine. I just rode with the story, not really knowing how long it would take or where it was going. Now if you have a particular scene you really want to make sure is in there, remember that it can change settings if needbe. I had one scene that was a character climax (and is really the climax of the story) where a MC (Main Character) had to make a critical decision. I initially had this scene in a winter, mountain setting during the day. As things changed and the story improved, I still had to have that scene in there, so I changed the setting to a stormy night in the city. Sometimes you can change characters and still get the same effect (though in my case, I had to have some of the ones as they were) that you wanted.
So here is what I did to keep what I wanted. I made a list of the scenes that I really liked and decided were very important to the story line for either plot purposes or character development. I also kept a list of other ideas to think about including in some way shape or form. These ideas don't have to be included, but could at some point. I had some scenes that didn't make one draft, but got put back in later, and others that I decided to reserve for later. At this point, I'd recommend following the path your story is taking you, but keep what wanted aside. It might present itself later than you expected or it might just move to a new location. If you are having a hard time deciding which way to go, return to the point in the story where the fork in the road is, and ask the characters, given what you know about them, what decision they would make. An adventurous character would take the hard road; a lazy character would take the easy one. A social character would make sure he take friends along. A solitary one would go off alone. So ask your characters what they would do.

There are other writer's who have good advice too, but I imagine they are locked away in thier rooms working on NaNo. We'll get them back in December.

Re: Writer's World

PostPosted: Nov 12, 2009 12:37 am
by Fire Fairy
Again, thank you for your amazing advice, FencerforJesus!

Lady Galadriel, I know exactly what you mean. I like to call it "letting the characters take charge." Sometimes my characters have minds of their own! A lot of times, though, this causes your story to end up the way your character wants it to. In other words, your character is getting what they want. In a recent Q&A with a published author at my school (Nicole Mazarrella, I think was her name), she said that the best way to keep your plot moving and interesting was to determine what your MCs want the most, and then not give it to them. That way, you are providing constant frustrations and trials for your characters, which is what keeps things interesting. ;)

I recently learned another idea from my English teacher, who is also a published author (and very talented, I might add), that I found very interesting. He said that whenever he gets stuck in his plotline, he plays a game with himself that he calls "Ten Crazy Things That Could Happen Right Now." His advice was to quickly write down anything that could happen in your current place in the plot, and to write all ten, even if number three is an absolutely brilliant idea. It helps exercise your imagination, and avoid cliche plots. :)

Another thing I was going to say, FencerforJesus, is concerning your view on trilogies. I must say I completely agree with you there!!!! I have always been frustrated with "sequels" that movie companies make simply because their first movie was such a big hit (movies like HSM2 come to mind...*shudders*). But, no, fortunately, that is not what I was planning on. With my story, it just simply seems to big to fit into a single book. My only worry is that with the way I plan on ending my first book (with a huge dropoff) might cause too much confusion and make it more difficult for people to read. Oh, well. I'll just wait until my first draft is done before I decide on what I'll do with that.

Re: Writer's World

PostPosted: Nov 12, 2009 8:07 am
by FencerforJesus
That would be my recommendation. Finish the draft and if it is too long, then you can split it up. I've had drafts at 250-280 pages (that is 135k to 160k words). My spiritual warfare novel is currently about 120k (ish, I haven't checked the word count in a while). My mom suggested splitting it up because I am a first-time author (to the publishing realm) and it might make it easier to sell, but when I spoke with WinePress, they actually recommended leaving it as it. So go ahead and finish your draft. Don't worry about length. That will take care of itself as you edit.

Re: Writer's World

PostPosted: Nov 12, 2009 1:17 pm
by Lady Galadriel
Wow! Thanks for the advice, everybody. The bizarre thing is that I am several drafts into the story and have altered the conclusion to some extent every time. /:) Though I've really gotten into the story this time, adding more scenes and fleshing out characters. This draft is double the size of any of the others! At least when I finish this draft I hope I'll be able to just edit and not rewrite.

*begins to muse* This time, however, the problem is really that I had planned for a so-called "minor" character to enter when the story is nearing the height of the conclusion and thus "save the day" (at least for the moment, because more will happen after that. It's kind of like a false conclusion). I kind of ever-so-smoothly went past the point of the character's arrival (perhaps because I got caught up in the action and forgot about my set plan from before!). And it's not like the character is so minor that he can be skipped altogether; rather it's a character that appears in few scenes, but is still really needed.

But perhaps the character can still enter into the action that follows later....That will take some imagination, but of course imagination doesn't hurt! We'll see....


Re: Writer's World

PostPosted: Nov 12, 2009 2:30 pm
by stargazer
...the best way to keep your plot moving and interesting was to determine what your MCs want the most, and then not give it to them.

That's a great piece of advice. :)
Since I've often written short stories, any attempts at longer works often turn into episodic vignettes (sort of 'day in the life of' snippets) rather than a cohesive whole. This concept has helped me strengthen the whole plotline somewhat. the story I am working on, I had a set plan, and it by itself diverted from the set scenes on me (It's not straying from the actual plot, it's just straying from the way I had planned to draw the story's conclusion in a major way).

I agree with the others who have said, "Let the characters tell the story." In my current project (which happens to be for NaNo), I've reached a crossroads - two different characters screaming that the story should go their way, so to speak. This choice will determine the entire outcome, even the possible death of a main character. That's much more intriguing than my original plotline - but I'm not ready to kill that character off yet! It'll take some thinking and plotting to resolve this conumdrum. Maybe I'll just continue writing and see what happens. ;)) As jbc mentioned above, I can always rewrite later - or even try my hand at an alternate ending to see which works better.