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Writer's World

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Re: Writer's World

Postby Phill Lytle » Aug 27, 2019 8:02 am

I've been writing for a long time, mostly non-fiction articles and things of that nature. Recently, I've been testing the waters with short stories, trying to work up the courage to tackle something on a much bigger scale.

I recently posted/published a short story over at the website I help manage. I don't have a lot of avenues to share my writing, so I figured I would share it with you lovely people here. The last time I posted something I wrote with this group, the response was very kind. Hopefully at least a few of you will enjoy this little story.

http://ramblingeveron.com/2019/08/27/the-invitation/
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Geekicheep » Aug 30, 2019 11:50 am

Hey, Phill Lytle, thanks for sharing! It's always nice to meet another blogger and writer. Your blog has an even wider variety of topics than mine, and that's saying something (and that's a good thing IMO)! I do a lot of nonfiction stuff too, mostly related to technology or hockey; my blog has a third topic, a catch-all "all things geeky" (which works great when I want to write something about fiction or share a story, or thoughts on a movie etc.). But you have everything from theology to sports to news and I don't know what else. Very cool! :)

Now as far as your story is concerned, it's not exactly my thing, but I really like the format! Right from the start, we get a sense that this story takes place in another time, back when people wrote letters on paper instead of a keyboard, back when people actually spoke with that more formal tone. I must admit I only got four or five paragraphs into it, but it feels very real. It's as if I were actually reading some family's letters, which is not something I've seen in a story before. I'm sure it's been done, but from my perspective it's a really cool, unique way to tell a story. My only suggestion has nothing to do with content - I would suggest not using that squiggly font. Sure it looks more like handwriting, but I found that font very hard to read. I had to copy it into a text editor to get past "Dear Mary". :)

Anyway, keep up the good work! I'll be checking out this blog of yours again soon.
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Phill Lytle » Sep 03, 2019 6:31 am

Thanks, Geekicheep for the kind words! We really went back and forth on the font. We wanted it to look like actual handwritten letters. I'm sorry it was hard for you to read. I haven't heard anyone else have an issue with that, but it's possible it has been a problem for a few.

I would like to encourage you to read the whole thing. I think you will appreciate the story as a whole better if you finish it.

Again, thanks for the comment. I'll have to check out your blog as well. (Rambling Ever On - my site - is a collaborative work by a handful of friends. It's definitely not a one person show. I could not handle that kind of workload!)
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Geekicheep » Sep 20, 2019 8:59 am

What's up guys, happy Friday! :)

I just wrote that post I said I would, in response to Ryadian's question about writing for text games. It's been interesting getting into this genre, and hopefully it will give some insight that will help your own writing projects (even if you're not writing a game).
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Ryadian » Sep 25, 2019 3:13 pm

Reepicheep775, good luck with your draft for your second book! :) I'm curious, what do you keep in mind when writing for "middle grade readers"? Just vocabulary and the like, or do you find yourself changing content of the story? I tend to write just whatever I, personally, feel like reading/writing (which tends to skew towards younger sensibilities, just because that's my personal taste), but I've never made a concerted effort to aim it at such an audience.

Phill Lytle, I read your story, and other than sharing Geekicheep's concern about the font, I really enjoyed it! Telling a story through letters is always an interesting challenge, and but I really enjoy it when it's pulled off, like you did here. You gave me just enough information all along to fill in my questions, but keep me wanting to know more. I'll admit, when the writer started talking about seeing someone she hadn't seen since her childhood, I started thinking about how the tone was reminding me a bit of Narnia/C.S. Lewis, but I didn't make the connection until He said "Susan"! At which point I literally gasped aloud. You did a really good job fleshing out the woman she grew into.

Geekicheep, thanks for sharing the finished article! :) What you said about outlining... yeah, I never bothered with that when I attempted my RPG, but in hindsight I can understand its importance. ;)) There's a lot of good stuff in there, though - if I ever get around to writing one of the vague game ideas I have in my head, I know where to turn now. :)

Looking forward to reading more from both of you! :)

I've made a little progress on my nephew's book, but not as much as I'd like. Since I've been so blocked lately in my writing, I've been letting myself write whatever strikes my fancy at any particular moment. Which is great for finding motivation, but not so great for getting any particular project done. ;)) I've been taking weekly "writer dates", as I call them (for lack of a better term), where I leave the house and go somewhere cheap/free (usually the library), and just spend and hour or two writing without distraction. It's done wonders for me actually getting, y'know, anything done. :P
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Cleander » Sep 25, 2019 5:47 pm

Ryadian wrote:I've made a little progress on my nephew's book, but not as much as I'd like. Since I've been so blocked lately in my writing, I've been letting myself write whatever strikes my fancy at any particular moment. Which is great for finding motivation, but not so great for getting any particular project done. ;)) I've been taking weekly "writer dates", as I call them (for lack of a better term), where I leave the house and go somewhere cheap/free (usually the library), and just spend and hour or two writing without distraction. It's done wonders for me actually getting, y'know, anything done. :P


Wow, you're more organized with your writing schedule than I am! :D
I've been trying to do at least a LITTLE writing each day recently, but you're right, it's easy to get blocked. My daily progress is often just a paragraph or two; but today I had some extra time and wrote the bulk of an entire chapter!! :-o (It'll probably get torn to pieces when I do the next draft, though. :| )
I've got a question for ya'll here: Do you think there is any benefit to hand-writing your first manuscripts on paper as opposed to writing and storing them on a computer/ipad? I've been writing (as an amateur) for awhile now, and have been using paper all the way, though I'm beginning to slowly transfer my ideas to a Word document. I guess the good thing with paper is it's easier to store safely, whereas... computers can crash. :(
Any thoughts?
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Reepicheep775 » Sep 28, 2019 7:06 pm

Ryadian wrote:Reepicheep775, good luck with your draft for your second book! :) I'm curious, what do you keep in mind when writing for "middle grade readers"? Just vocabulary and the like, or do you find yourself changing content of the story? I tend to write just whatever I, personally, feel like reading/writing (which tends to skew towards younger sensibilities, just because that's my personal taste), but I've never made a concerted effort to aim it at such an audience.

Honestly, I think my natural writing sensibilities are best suited for children's literature. I used to always write for whatever age group I happened to be in at the time (first middle grade, then YA, then adult), but the last thing I worked on before starting my current trilogy was an adult novel and, while I was reading through it, I realized that it sounded more like a children's book than an adult book. So I went back to writing for children and I haven't looked back.

I think I would have a different voice if I was writing for adults, but it's hard to pinpoint what exactly the difference is. It isn't vocabulary. I don't believe in dumbing down language for children. They have access to dictionaries (plus technology that I didn't have when I was their age) and having them look things up that they don't know never hurts. There are sometimes content that I leave out - pretty much lay off the sex, drugs, alcohol, and swearing. For me that isn't a huge sacrifice. I'm not too detailed with violence, but that is more of a stylistic thing than me being worried that children can't handle it.
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Geekicheep » Sep 29, 2019 7:53 am

This is interesting about writing for different age groups. I've always had the same kinds of questions, because as an adult I still enjoy reading books that were written for kids and teens. And on the other hand, we live in weird times, where teens are getting into stuff that's meant for adults. I wonder too what the differences are, because like others have said I mostly just write what I'd like to read myself. But even so, it would be interesting to find out what makes a book middle-grade or whatever.

As far as the paper vs. computer question, I've got to say I'm extremely partial to computers. Obviously, being a programmer, I'm used to spending many hours a day writing on a computer. But whether it's chapters' worth of code, or a chapter of a story, I've found it's very hard to actually lose anything. Computers don't crash nearly as much as they used to, and even when they do, they don't usually cause files to be deleted, and a quick reboot will fix the problem. Throw in backup options like Dropbox or a USB drive, and that file's not going anywhere unless you want it to. So the argument that "computers crash" has become like the argument that "paper burns"; stuff happens, but it's not likely.

Now I understand why it might be fun to write it out on paper, like many of the great writers of the past must have done. I remember writing my stories on paper, and even doodling illustrations, when I was a teenager. So it's definitely a nostalgic thing, and if it helps you write then I'd say keep doing what works for you. But personally, I like the Backspace key, the Undo shortcut, and other helpful tools not available on paper. :)
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Arwen_Daeneri31 » Sep 29, 2019 12:33 pm

Most things I write are for my Rp characters or just stories for their adventures. I have forayed into fanfiction a few times, and even this year I'm going to try the nanowrimo.

However my weaknesses are poetry and actually thinking and putting together a story I have the idea, characters, plot, world, but then it takes awhile for it all to come together.

Just throwing that out there in case anyone would have any input. :)
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Phill Lytle » Nov 01, 2019 8:11 am

Ryadian wrote:Phill Lytle, I read your story, and other than sharing Geekicheep's concern about the font, I really enjoyed it! Telling a story through letters is always an interesting challenge, and but I really enjoy it when it's pulled off, like you did here. You gave me just enough information all along to fill in my questions, but keep me wanting to know more. I'll admit, when the writer started talking about seeing someone she hadn't seen since her childhood, I started thinking about how the tone was reminding me a bit of Narnia/C.S. Lewis, but I didn't make the connection until He said "Susan"! At which point I literally gasped aloud. You did a really good job fleshing out the woman she grew into.


Somehow I missed this comment! Thanks so much for the kind words. I was hoping it would produce those kind of reactions. Also, the comments about the font are interesting to me. We went back and forth on the font and the one we settled on was approved and liked by multiple people and editors. But, I guess it is a strong stylistic choice so it's going to cause strong reactions in different people. I hope it didn't turn off too many people from reading the whole thing.
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Cleander » Apr 22, 2020 6:50 am

Well, lockdown promises to provide us with some much-needed writing time... still, I'm struggling to finish the Word doc version of my first chapter. I already wrote the first draft of the entire book on paper, but the first chapter needed a major rewrite (mainly because of having lots of new ideas since then about a certain character) so I'm having to pretty much ignore the first version.
Has anyone else found more writing time lately?
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Wanderer Between Worlds » Apr 22, 2020 7:49 am

Cleander wrote:Well, lockdown promises to provide us with some much-needed writing time... still, I'm struggling to finish the Word doc version of my first chapter. I already wrote the first draft of the entire book on paper, but the first chapter needed a major rewrite (mainly because of having lots of new ideas since then about a certain character) so I'm having to pretty much ignore the first version.
Has anyone else found more writing time lately?


Hello, Cleander! It's so nice to find others who love to write on NarniaWeb. I've had the same hope about finding time for writing during lockdown. I've been trying to write more (trying being the operative word ;))).

Congratulations on finishing an entire draft on paper! :-bd I'm struggling to get through finishing a first draft on Google docs. (Although I suspect this has to do with my bad habit of revising scenes while I write them, which means I become trapped in a perpetual cycle of editing before even completing a draft.) What is is your book about?

--Wanderer

P.S. Did something happen to the Narnia Writers' Guild? The link AJAiken posted at the very beginning of the thread says that the website cannot be found.
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Cleander » Apr 22, 2020 8:26 am

Wanderer Between Worlds wrote:
Congratulations on finishing an entire draft on paper! :-bd I'm struggling to get through finishing a first draft on Google docs. (Although I suspect this has to do with my bad habit of revising scenes while I write them, which means I become trapped in a perpetual cycle of editing before even completing a draft.) What is is your book about?

--Wanderer

P.S. Did something happen to the Narnia Writers' Guild? The link AJAiken posted at the very beginning of the thread says that the website cannot be found.

Thanks!
I've found it's easier to revise a scene with each draft of the book; if my first try at a chapter is terrible (like chapter 1 of my book) I just ignore it and carry on until the next draft so i don't get too bogged down.
The book I'm working on (among others) is an historical low-fantasy fiction novel about St. Nicholas. There's a plethora of children's books of this nature, which usually either have nothing to do with the real historic figure of Nicholas (trying to turn him into literal Santa Claus) or they try to push the medieval legends about him as historic fact (Like all the stories of him reappearing in visions to help people centuries after his death.) My book is basically a YA spin on this: it's a retelling of the historic story with all the St. Nicholas/Santa Claus lore mixed in but in an historically accurate or believable way. So there's no magic... but there are references to elves and Krampus. :D The idea is to ask the question, " how might the old 4th century St. Nicholas actually become a Santa-like figure in his own lifetime, without any magic involved?" (The figures of Father Christmas and Odin (otherwise known as part-time Viking Santa) also shine through in the book, if only in small details.)
I'll stop myself now before I launch into a full length overview of the book. :D
I'm not sure about the writer's guild... I can't remember being on the website recently. Maybe you can PM a moderator? :-??
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Re: Writer's World

Postby stargazer » Apr 24, 2020 1:53 pm

The Writers' Guild is no longer an active site.

I can't imagine writing an entire draft longhand. My writing has gotten pretty sloppy in my old age, and I find it much easier to edit a word document.

In theory lockdown should give me more time to write, and I have worked on my current project a little, but I'm finding it a little harder to find motivation to write.
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Re: Writer's World

Postby Ryadian » Apr 24, 2020 2:46 pm

Wanderer Between Worlds wrote:Congratulations on finishing an entire draft on paper! :-bd I'm struggling to get through finishing a first draft on Google docs. (Although I suspect this has to do with my bad habit of revising scenes while I write them, which means I become trapped in a perpetual cycle of editing before even completing a draft.)


I'm afraid this is my personal trap as well. ;)) I've told myself so many times that I'm just going to write straight through and ignore the things I don't like, and... it's far more likely that I give up entirely than that I succeed there. :|

stargazer wrote:In theory lockdown should give me more time to write, and I have worked on my current project a little, but I'm finding it a little harder to find motivation to write.


I've found the same problem. I was very good about it at first, but first I started neglecting writing in favor of doing chores... then it was just in favor of watching more YouTube. ;)) YouTube! The bane of my writer's existence. I keep telling myself I'm going to block YouTube from the hours of 7 to 9 so I can get some writing done, but a) that requires getting that done and b) I use YouTube for music probably more often than I should. :P

I have been doing my best to get at least a little writing done every day. It doesn't have to be narrative, it can brainstorming, and it doesn't have to fit into any particular draft. Basically, at this point, I'm just trying to enjoy writing again. ;)) I kind of lost sight of that at some point, and I'm trying to get it back.
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Re: Writer's World

Postby coracle » Apr 24, 2020 4:11 pm

Well, if others are using lockdown to get some decent writing work done, then I must too.
I have slowly been catching up on emails, have done a blog post to compensate for a couple of missed weeks, and am thinking about the three story ideas I have been keeping safe. Since one of them is essentially autobiographical, I think I should start with that. It's based on the row of shops (US: strip mall) that was built near my home when I was a small child, and how each shop was part of my life as I grew.
I've just looked in the document for 'ideas' on my hard drive, only to discover that it's an empty document with only a title!!! :-\
So, the initial writing is in an exercise book, stored away somewhere in the many boxes I packed up three years ago before I went overseas. Choices: find it, or start again.
I'd like to find it, so that's one more thing to go on my list.
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