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hammer of Moradin
Senior Scribe

USA
758 Posts

Posted - 01 Jan 2005 :  19:41:50  Show Profile  Visit hammer of Moradin's Homepage Send hammer of Moradin a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
With Alaundo's permission, I would like to have a place for all of our authors to come and answer general questions from the gallery. While we often have specific questions for specific authors, sometimes there are questions that everyone may have an opinion on.
My first question, similar to one I posted at our sister site, is what suggestions do our authors have for aspiring writers, for the Realms or otherwise?

Edited by - Alaundo on 10 Jan 2005 18:53:25

Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1632 Posts

Posted - 01 Jan 2005 :  21:43:09  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by hammer of Moradin

With Alaundo's permission, I would like to have a place for all of our authors to come and answer general questions from the gallery. While we often have specific questions for specific authors, sometimes there are questions that everyone may have an opinion on.
My first question, similar to one I posted at our sister site, is what suggestions do our authors have for aspiring writers, for the Realms or otherwise?



The same advice Ed constantly gives me when I'm plagued by the twin demons of procrastination and frustration: Read voraciously and write equally so.

That's the simplest advice, which is always the best on which to lay a foundation for this discussion.

Steven
Who finds fiction is in many ways easier to write and in other ways harder to write than game manuals and modules but he constantly fights to do one while he should be doing the other...

For current projects and general natter, see www.steveneschend.com
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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1772 Posts

Posted - 01 Jan 2005 :  22:26:35  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Some basic advice:
1. Set up a weekly schedule that allocats blocks of time to writng. For example: Every morning from 7 to 8, before you have to leave for work. Or: Every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 6 to 11.
2. Stick to the schedule.
3. Finish the stories you start. A lot of aspiring writers have a hundred uncompleted stories and none with an ending. That's not the kind of aspiring writer you want to be. If you're having trouble figuring out what happens next, or have the feeling the story's gone wrong somehow, solve the problem.
4. Submit stories over and over again until either an editor buys them or the story has worked its way through all the appropriate markets.
5. There are many good books on being a professional writer. They can advise you on matters of craft and also give you the information you need on such basic but essential matters as manuscript mechanics. Read some of those books.
6. Always be courteous and professional in your relations with editors and publishers. Those books you're going to read will tell you what professional behavior looks like.
7. Persevere, and try not to become discouraged. It can be very difficult to break in, but if you have even a smidgen of talent, intelligent persistence is likely to prevail eventually.
That's all that's springing to mind right now. I can give more detailed responses to more specific questions, and no doubt the other writers who frequent Candlekeep can, also.
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James P. Davis
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
244 Posts

Posted - 02 Jan 2005 :  01:17:37  Show Profile  Visit James P. Davis's Homepage Send James P. Davis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I only have my experiences from the last year to draw from professionally, but after twelve years of waiting to submit anything I think having confidence in what you write is key. They say you are your own worst critic, I say use that fact to your advantage.

Like Steven said, read and write voraciously, and keep a schedule as Richard said. I work late at my day-job, so my schedule is midnight to sunrise, but I don't hold to that timeframe religiously. Scheduled time is good, but I much prefer the quick frenzied slamming of keys in a moment of pure creative impulse.

My only other advice comes from Harlan Ellison and that is to keep and use everything you write, take the right pieces out of a hundred failed projects and you could find the one successful idea you've been looking for. I keep boxes of old notes, half-written stories, sketches and restaurant napkins that I've jotted ideas on, you never know when something you thought was 'just okay' at the time could eventually become pure gold later on.

"Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red."--Clive Barker

FR: RotD2:"Possessions"
Wizards:Bloodwalk
Citadels: The Shield of Weeping Ghosts
Wilds: The Restless Shore
Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep: Circle of Skulls (May 2010)
Book trailers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC-ska7ohVk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfvFdQ8bLp0
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hammer of Moradin
Senior Scribe

USA
758 Posts

Posted - 02 Jan 2005 :  18:26:35  Show Profile  Visit hammer of Moradin's Homepage Send hammer of Moradin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks folks. Keep it coming.
Another question, on average, how many pages per day, week, or month do you write when writing a novel?
And how many of you have day jobs, other than writing gaming material?

"Hurling himself upon his enemies, he terrified them with slaughter!"

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium

Candlekeep proverb: If a thing is said often enough, fools aplenty will believe it to be true.
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1632 Posts

Posted - 02 Jan 2005 :  20:47:14  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by hammer of Moradin

Thanks folks. Keep it coming.
Another question, on average, how many pages per day, week, or month do you write when writing a novel?


The old TSR standard still sticks with me to this day, though I don't hit it as often as I'd like. 2000 words a day (10K per week) was the minimum of what we were expected to produce as designers back in the day. Some days I'll hit 1000, some days I'll wring 10,000 out of my fevered head. Other days you can hear the whistle of the wind across the deserts in my head....

Of course, if I kept up this pace, I'd be able to write the average WotC novel in 3-4 months....and I obviously haven't been doing that.

quote:

And how many of you have day jobs, other than writing gaming material?



Well,when I left WotC in 2000, I thought I knew what I was doing to survive as a freelancer and substitute teacher. Alas, no; neither job kept me busy enough (or paid regularly enough) to keep me from slipping into major debts. Much of the blame falls on me due to not doing all the legwork I needed to stay constantly working freelance wise (i.e. finding new work; finishing work on time was not the problem). Thus, be warned that a writer's life is rarely easy and even more rarely profitable.

That's the long way of saying "I'm currently seeking another day job to support me while writing."

SES

For current projects and general natter, see www.steveneschend.com
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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1772 Posts

Posted - 02 Jan 2005 :  22:30:13  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
About 1250 words per day is really comfortable for me, but I can do double that if it's necessary to make a deadline.
Of late, I've more often than not kept to a schedule that required me to produce about 1750 words per day.
I don't currently have a day job.
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James P. Davis
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
244 Posts

Posted - 03 Jan 2005 :  07:08:21  Show Profile  Visit James P. Davis's Homepage Send James P. Davis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Another question, on average, how many pages per day, week, or month do you write when writing a novel?


When I was writing Bloodwalk, I used a page-a-day calendar, marking off on the Mondays of each week where my word count should be at a minimum of 500 words a day. Then I just raced the calendar to beat my personal deadline averaging roughly 1000-1200 words a day.

"Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red."--Clive Barker

FR: RotD2:"Possessions"
Wizards:Bloodwalk
Citadels: The Shield of Weeping Ghosts
Wilds: The Restless Shore
Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep: Circle of Skulls (May 2010)
Book trailers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC-ska7ohVk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfvFdQ8bLp0
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Valondil the Ranger
Learned Scribe

USA
109 Posts

Posted - 03 Jan 2005 :  21:10:35  Show Profile  Visit Valondil the Ranger's Homepage  Send Valondil the Ranger a Yahoo! Message Send Valondil the Ranger a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oooooooh! Who's the ranger?

I know I'm not a published writer, nor am I as great as these guys, but I find it really odd that all you published writers type less than I can in a day than when I can in a couple of hours. But, seriously, I can sit in front of the computer for three hours and crank out five thousand words of pretty decent writing. I don't know how I do it.

Do you guys tend to take more time tidying things up while you write, or is your day jobs that restrict you? Sorry if I sounded smug back there--I was just making an ass of myself.

--Your humble ranger,
Valondil

Check out my webpage at http://iankappos.blogspot.com/
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2290 Posts

Posted - 03 Jan 2005 :  23:10:54  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Writers work at wildly varying paces. At one end of the spectrum are incredibly prolific writers such as Ed Greenwood, at the other, people who feel that a single well constructed paragraph is a good day's work. I have a friend who has been working on a book for almost two years, and isn't quite halfway through. Sometimes the pace is dictated by the style and subject. Susan is writing an incredibly well-researched novel set in southern New England during King Philip's War, and she's employing a complex metafiction style. Most of my projects are character driven, fast-paced adventure fiction. Guess who's got the higher word count?

My pace varies from day to day. Five to ten (readable) pages is a very good day, and it's my goal for 2005 to meet the 5-10 page standard every day, in addition to revision, reading, research, and related tasks such as email, promotions, and web maintenance. Once in a while, I have an unusually productive day. Recently I wrote a short story in a single day. Over six thousand words, 32 pages, polished first draft, and at the end of the day I hit "Send" and submitted it. But this is very, very unusual for me, and possible only because I thought about (and dreamed about) the story throughout the previous night and much of the day before. When it came time to write, I was pretty much typing what I'd already worked out. It's far more typical for me to tinker and revise incessantly while I write, which slows down the process to a crawl.

This year I'm taking several new approaches to improving my work AND my productivity. First, more time is going into the planning and pre-writing stage. Putting in more work up front can save a lot of time down the road. Second, less time is going into the first draft. I'm pushing myself to get the story down on paper before revising. Strict internal deadlines, something I was religious about for years, are back on the schedule. My goal is to divide the alloted writing time into three nearly equal parts: the planning stage, which includes the proposal, outline, extended outline, and research; the rough first draft, and revising and polishing the first draft.
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Kameron M. Franklin
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
228 Posts

Posted - 03 Jan 2005 :  23:29:07  Show Profile  Visit Kameron M. Franklin's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Having a 40hr/wk job relegated most of my writing to the weekends, though I usually sat down for an hour or two weeknights and pounded out 500 words or so. Down the stretch this last week, I was really picking up the pace and getting in a groove, doing 3-4k words a day. Of course, I had extended weekends with the holidays.

"You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." --Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride
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Josh Davids
Seeker

57 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2005 :  05:51:08  Show Profile  Visit Josh Davids's Homepage Send Josh Davids a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Definitely agree with everything that was said above and here are a few things I have learned in the last year.

1. if at all humanly possible never miss a deadline. If you miss a deadline because of something popping up, family emergency and the like that is ok, if you miss a deadline because you are playing PS2 or a computer game, it isnít a good thing.

2. be respectful and courteous to those who came before you and who come along after. donít attack an author because you dislike their work, donít bash an author and donít make up a screen name so you can criticize the author and not have to deal with the consequences. This is all one big community trying to do the same thing, no need to ever get personal.

3. donít put all you eggs in one basket and donít rush ahead of yourself. You get one book published that is great, donít quit your day job just yet. Build a foundation of great books with which to work from, take pride in your work and take time to build a career. Donít ever think that you will get what you want when you want it nothing is ever handed to you, you must work for it. it takes time to build up to being great.

4. and I will repeat what was said before about the schedule. I have one and I stick to it and I recommend anyone who wants to write professionally to do it as well. also for the preplanning thing that Mrs. Cunningham mentioned. I do that as well right now religiously, I have three novels planned out and in a few weeks I will be adding two more to that as well as a trilogy. As time comes up I sit and write and get stories done without hitting any snags. I preplan for two reasons, the one which Mrs.Cunningham mentioned and the second I suffer from a severe case of ADHD, preplanning is a necessity for me.



As for the word count it varies. The days that I have planned for two hour blocks at night to write I normally sit down and do notes up on characters, plot points I need to hit in the story, character resolutions because many of the stories right now are character driven. also refine the world I am working on and the goals of the various villains and heroes to keep the continuity flowing along without any bumps. On those days I average 500-3,000 words it all depends on what I want to accomplish at that time. The second block of when I write is two 6 hour blocks of writing when I either edit a chapter or write a new one. On those days I get for the editing about 2,000-6,000 words done. When I write a whole new chapter that average is 10,000-15,000 words that I can get done in a six hour block all because I preplan on what is going to happen in those chapters so I have no blocks of thought or movement in the story.

Right now though word count is zero, my wife is incredibly ill so taking care of her, both daughters and running the house at the same time. Ug, hopefully in a few weeks she will be feeling better so I can start writing again. Thanks to preplanning I also donít have to worry when something like this happens, at any time I can just sit down and type out the story without worrying where I was, what I was going for etc, it is all there in notes waiting to be fleshed out.

As for job, nope primary caretaker of the family as well as college right now for my highschool diploma and might work on getting a degree in English lit, who knows.

The last thing is donít give up.
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Josh Davids
Seeker

57 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2005 :  06:00:11  Show Profile  Visit Josh Davids's Homepage Send Josh Davids a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh I forgot one.

There is no such thing as writer block. When I talk to others on Elfwood who are trying to go professional they mention they suffer from that. I ask simply why or how. They talk about what they are doing while writing and it becomes clear why they donít get stuff done. They are playing a game while writing, watching tv or surfing the net. Unplug the computer from the net, turn off tv and just sit before the computer or pad of paper and starting writing. Donít know how many will agree with me on that, god knows I get yelled at when I say there is no such thing as writers block, but I never suffer from it because I donít let in distractions while writing.

I donít know how often I say that then the response is I will be tracked down and skinned alive for uttering such nonsense. But to me it is true, there is no such thing. just sit down and write.
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James P. Davis
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
244 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2005 :  09:54:09  Show Profile  Visit James P. Davis's Homepage Send James P. Davis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Donít know how many will agree with me on that, god knows I get yelled at when I say there is no such thing as writers block, but I never suffer from it because I donít let in distractions while writing.


No yelling here, I promise.

However there is an interesting book on the subject and its complete opposite (called in the book hypergraphia):
The Midnight Disease by Alice Weaver Flaherty
http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/booksellers/press_release/flaherty/


"Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red."--Clive Barker

FR: RotD2:"Possessions"
Wizards:Bloodwalk
Citadels: The Shield of Weeping Ghosts
Wilds: The Restless Shore
Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep: Circle of Skulls (May 2010)
Book trailers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC-ska7ohVk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfvFdQ8bLp0
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hammer of Moradin
Senior Scribe

USA
758 Posts

Posted - 10 Jan 2005 :  04:53:28  Show Profile  Visit hammer of Moradin's Homepage Send hammer of Moradin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would agree about writer's block, to an extent. I view it more as procrastination than not having anything to write about. Even if the current story is not coming along as planned, that doesn't mean other writing projects could not be worked on. Or, as many have said, just sit down and write something, even if its gibberish. I like to look through the old D&D books when I need some inspiration for a campaign. Does anyone go to their gaming books, even if to look at the pictures, to get inspiration or ideas?

"Hurling himself upon his enemies, he terrified them with slaughter!"

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium

Candlekeep proverb: If a thing is said often enough, fools aplenty will believe it to be true.
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2290 Posts

Posted - 10 Jan 2005 :  13:02:34  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A definite yes on using game products for ideas and inspiration. In fact, the plot of Elfshadow began with two disparate bits of info from the old gray boxed set: the death of King Zaor, and the establishment of a colony in Evereska about the same time. Hmm....

Anyone who suffers from writer's block should read the section about "bricklayer's block" in Frey's book How to Write a Damn Good Novel 2. This amusing but brutal little parody reveals "writer's block" as the self-indulgent crap it truly is.

Granted, there will always be times when it's harder to write. There are many things that can cloud the mind or sap creative energies: illness, the death of a close friend or family member, relationship problems, depression, extremely busy schedules, insufficient sleep. But I submit that such things make it more difficult for anyone to function efficiently. Yet somehow, teachers show up for classes, physicians go to the office and make their rounds, office workers keep the corporate wheels turning, and yes, bricklayers do their thing. Professional writers who, for one reason or another, don't keep working will eventually suffer the same consequences as any other professional who doesn't show up for work on a regular basis.
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James P. Davis
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
244 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2005 :  06:47:30  Show Profile  Visit James P. Davis's Homepage Send James P. Davis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A definite yes to the use of gaming products for inspiration, I especially like the older more obscure stuff like those floating tidbits in the gray box that Elaine mentioned. I also enjoy searching through old articles as well, like the "Elminster's Everwinking Eye" series in old Polyhedron magazines.

On writer's block, I think it depends on the individual. Procrastination and a lack of prep-work play into it, but also I think a blank page can be very intimidating as well.

"Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red."--Clive Barker

FR: RotD2:"Possessions"
Wizards:Bloodwalk
Citadels: The Shield of Weeping Ghosts
Wilds: The Restless Shore
Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep: Circle of Skulls (May 2010)
Book trailers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC-ska7ohVk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfvFdQ8bLp0
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Winterfox
Senior Scribe

895 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2005 :  11:20:24  Show Profile  Visit Winterfox's Homepage Send Winterfox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Am not a professional author, obviously, but my (however unsolicited) two cents: there are times where it's almost impossible for me to write. And my beta would tell me to take a break, let it rest, and come back again later. The thing is, whatever you're working on won't write itself. So yes, I force myself to churn out something. That something may not be great in quality or even quantity, but it's better than just sitting, dully staring at the blank monitor and tentatively prodding the keyboard. Besides, you can always revise and improve on the things you dumped out when you weren't "in the mood" to write. A blank document, on the other hand, can't be revised and worked on.

'Course, some people will still insist that it might scar your creativity forever or something, and that writing (in my -- and other amateurs' -- case) should be a fun activity, not a chore. I feel vaguely... guilty if a day goes by without me having wrung out at least a paragraph or two, though.
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LaughingWizard
Seeker

USA
29 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2005 :  13:36:27  Show Profile  Visit LaughingWizard's Homepage Send LaughingWizard a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A very worthy topic, and great advice.

I started writing over ten years ago, then just stopped because I had two of the problems mentioned: I was my own worst critic--no confidence that what I'd written was good enough for anyone else to read; and I used the "writer's block" thing to an extreme. IT IS TRUE. Even on a bad day write something! Keep to a schedule.

I agree with Ms. Cunningham's statements in that I rewrite while I write, but that slows me down too. (This goes back to being too critical of myself! It can be difficult to keep going when you look back on several pages worth of writing that you think is junk.) How does one fight this feeling? Sometimes I force myself just to continue on with the story. Any thoughts from the "pros" about using either method, or switching off? At times it seems necessary just to write for quantity not quality and worry about trimming and editing later. I don't know if this is a good thing but its as if, in the rush of ideas, little gems of ideas will come out that otherwise may not have.
One more thing: Always stop when you are doing good! If you do, it gives you the impetus to continue the next day. If you stop at a tough spot its easier to blow off your writing because you are "blocked."
Now, if I can just follow your folks' advice (and mine) I might be able to add PUBLISHED in front of writer on my resumee! (Remember that too, one and all--just because you aren't published doesn't mean you aren't a writer!)

A woman, or a man, may come to hold many treasures in life. Gold, gems, a good name, lovers, good friends, influence, high rank--all of these are of value. All of these most covet. But of them all the most valuable, I tell ye, are friends good and true. Have these, and ye will scarce notice the lack if ye never win aught else."

The adventuress Sharanralee, Ballads and Lore of One Dusty Road, Year of the Wandering Maiden
From Spellfire by Ed Greenwood

Edited by - LaughingWizard on 11 Jan 2005 13:43:55
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2290 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2005 :  13:41:50  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Winterfox

Besides, you can always revise and improve on the things you dumped out when you weren't "in the mood" to write. A blank document, on the other hand, can't be revised and worked on.


Well said.

Taking this thought and going off on a tangent, I'm finding that working on more than one project also helps. If you're revising one project and working on a first draft of another, you can switch back and forth when you hit a snag. The subconscious keeps churning away on the problem story while you're working elsewhere, and chances are you'll come back to the first story with the ability to look at it anew. Granted, this approach isn't for everyone. Some people need to focus on a single story with something approaching tunnel vision, but this schedule seems to be working for me. If I'm tearing out my hair on a story, it helps to know that after lunch, I get to work on something else. Then by next morning, I'm ready to go again. My point, and I do have one, is if you're having problems staying focused and motivated, it might be a good idea to examine your writing process. Another approach or schedule might work better for you.

There's also the possibility that an inability to stick with a project is the result of your subconscious mind trying to communicate that this particular story isn't yours to tell. Sometimes you know a story isn't working, or isn't worth telling, or is beyond your current storytelling skills, but you're too darn stubborn to admit it. Self-knowledge is good; self-editing is excellent. Sometimes you need to ask yourself if a reticence you're tempted to call "writer's block" is actually a legitimate urge to throw in the towel on a project that isn't working and isn't likely to.

A BIG caveat: the above paragraph describes a rare exception, not the all-too-common urge to abandon a project when writing gets tough. I suspect that a lack of resolve and discipline, not a true dead end, accounts for most unfinished stories.
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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1772 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2005 :  14:04:38  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I'll agree with what others have said above: If the work is coming hard, persevere and squeeze out something, anything, even if you're convinced as you're doing it that it's the foulest swill imaginable.
It's interesting how often you go back the next day, review it, and realize it's perfectly acceptable.
Even if it's not, for me, the trick of writing is to put something where there was nothing. Once I've got the something, it doesn't matter how lame it is. It's rarely painful to polish and rework it until it's decent.
Even on those rare occasions when you go back and find you produced something truly hopeless, you're still better off for having tried. Often, doing it wrong was what you needed to show you how to do it right. And, you kept working. You didn't encourage the habit of quitting when the words are coming hard.
I'm a devout revise-and-polish-as-you-go guy. It works for some of us. But if you go this route, you must find a way to do it that doesn't keep you from creating new text every session.
Some writers are big fans of having more than one active project at a time. I like immersing myself in one thing until it's done. If you want to work on multiple projects, be sure that you're actually finishing stuff on a regular basis. My observation has been that there are too many aspiring writers with a hundred unfinished stories and no completed ones.
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2290 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2005 :  16:59:15  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Richard Lee Byers

If you want to work on multiple projects, be sure that you're actually finishing stuff on a regular basis. My observation has been that there are too many aspiring writers with a hundred unfinished stories and no completed ones.


I'm in complete agreement with the above. In fact, I wouldn't recommend the multiple projects approach to anyone who doesn't already have an established track record of finishing projects.
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James P. Davis
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
244 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2005 :  20:01:55  Show Profile  Visit James P. Davis's Homepage Send James P. Davis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
It's interesting how often you go back the next day, review it, and realize it's perfectly acceptable.
Even if it's not, for me, the trick of writing is to put something where there was nothing.

I agree, as intimidating as that first blank page is for some it will always be there for a writer. Putting something down, anything down, is invariably important. One cannot improve if there is nothing to improve upon.

"Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red."--Clive Barker

FR: RotD2:"Possessions"
Wizards:Bloodwalk
Citadels: The Shield of Weeping Ghosts
Wilds: The Restless Shore
Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep: Circle of Skulls (May 2010)
Book trailers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC-ska7ohVk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfvFdQ8bLp0
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Strahd Von Zarovich
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
135 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2005 :  00:13:25  Show Profile  Visit Strahd Von Zarovich's Homepage Send Strahd Von Zarovich a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by hammer of Moradin

With Alaundo's permission, I would like to have a place for all of our authors to come and answer general questions from the gallery.


Greetings,

The invitation is still extended to all authors to join us in similar conversation in our Authors Corner over at Worlds, which some of you will know is also moderated by Alaundo of Candlekeep.

We also have a something "special" for authors.

So far we have all the Eberron authors with us, and a few FR authors and we would love to see more.

Regards

Strahd Von Zarovich

Alaundo and I invite fans of everything D&D to join us!
http://www.worldsofdnd.com
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Winterfox
Senior Scribe

895 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2005 :  01:45:16  Show Profile  Visit Winterfox's Homepage Send Winterfox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've removed big chunks of writing when they don't work before. On the other hand, there's usually a few bits there that do work. Yay recycling and judicious patching.

I fight the "you're your own worst critic" impulse (not just in the sense of "harshest critic", but occasionally for me, "most inept critic who obsesses over trivial details and misses all the important ones") by letting what I've written sit for a while -- two days, three, or even a whole week. Then go back with a clear head to have a second look. Having a beta-reader (the amateur's version of an editor; a good one's more than worth his/her weight in gold) also helps. Mine doesn't do much with the grammar and punctuation -- those I can do myself when self-editing -- but offers opinions on the more difficult parts: plot points, ideas, characterization, and stylistical issues. (When a description is too much or too little; when a metaphor does not work; when a simile is hopelessly stilted, or when that attempt at humor is not funny.)

Edited by - Winterfox on 12 Jan 2005 01:47:30
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hammer of Moradin
Senior Scribe

USA
758 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2005 :  04:22:19  Show Profile  Visit hammer of Moradin's Homepage Send hammer of Moradin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Not wanting to completely change topic, but to prompt it in a new direction, I will pose this question: If you have an idea for a story, know the characters, setting, and pace, how do you start writing those first words? Do you start chapter one, page one? Do you develop a few scenes that you just have to get out? Or, do you write the end last?

"Hurling himself upon his enemies, he terrified them with slaughter!"

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium

Candlekeep proverb: If a thing is said often enough, fools aplenty will believe it to be true.
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