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Author Topic: Nod and a wave
mdavidge
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Good Morning Hatrack Riverites, albeit a snowy one if you're with me in the Northeast!

I've been lurking for a little while now and am finally taking the time to come up for some air and say hello.

My name is Matt, and I've been a terrible writer for the last decade or so. That's not to say that my writing is completely awful necessarily, though I tend to be a self-critical revisionist, but rather that I haven't really written for the last decade, and that's awful.

For some background, I've been an avid reader of Sci-Fi and Fantasy for as long as I can recall. I blame C.S. Lewis for placing a hook in my craw with his Narnia series. I've always wanted to be an Author myself, and view the big dogs with a sort of reverence, as though they were Rock Stars.

I started actively writing when I was in High School, but I feel like I still had a lot to learn. When I look back at what I'd generated in those days, I realize how quickly I fell into repeating what I now know to be tropes, and common mistakes of the craft. I'd actually been a member of these forums over a dozen years ago, and was part of a small peer-review group, and found that highly effective at making me better.

Regardless, it wasn't meant to be at the time. Everything I submitted was met with rejection slips, and as a teenager, I didn't have the emotional fortitude to take that sort of repetitive beating (thankfully, Life has now ground me down to the point where I can definitely take a lickin' and keep on tickin!). Additionally, it seemed like there as an impossible Catch-22 in place; You needed to be published to get an Agent, and you needed an Agent to get published. Not encouraging.

I joined the Air Force for several years, went through College, got a real job, a wife, a dog... and had, until recently, shelved my dream. I blame Pat Rothfuss entirely for making me look at that particular shelf and say, "Huh, a dream. Would you look at that?"

Aside from the fact that I thoroughly enjoy his writing, when I read more about how he'd really gotten his start, I was encouraged to learn about things like the Writers of the Future contest, which is one potential way to break into the industry without an agent. Not only that, but Pat, along with several other well known stars of the craft, have started doing monthly YouTube hangouts which help answer a lot of the problems I've run into when writing (Go look for "The Story Board", you won't regret it).

Extremely long story short (and bonus Gold Stars for those of you who've bothered to read this), I'm dusting off my dreams, trying to write several pages a day, and am making a serious go of this.

I look forward to chatting with people in the near future, and hope that we can help each other further our craft.

Cheers!
Matt Davidge

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Meredith
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Welcome (back) to the treehouse.
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Grumpy old guy
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G'day Matt, welcome back. Jump write in the water's fine. For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven...

Phil.

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LDWriter2
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Well, hello back to ye.

Hope you keep your head above the snow long enough to chat.

I think most of us if not all have ran into that tropes and repeated mistakes thing--some more than others.

But as you may know by now you don't really need an agent to break into the field--they just want you to think you do.

Thanks for the service in the Air Force--fighting giants as one song says.


As you my also know do be careful if you see a unicorn in the treehouse. It means you're going batty like the rest of us.

No, no, no it means be careful she can be dangerous.

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Catherine Collingwood
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*waves* Hello!
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mdavidge
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Thanks everyone, it's good to be back.

Took a few hours to shovel out, but I'm all ready to head back to the grindstone tomorrow, just trying to sneak in the time to write my daily 750 words before the weekend comes to a close.

Yeah, falling into the "Trope Trap" was definitely an easy thing to do when I first started... it did NOT help that I was basically writing modified Arthurian fiction (straight up "teenage boy has huge destiny in front of him, is given magical object and must flee from the evil magician's minions" stuff).

Now that I'm trying to get back into it (albeit it different stories), the hardest things seem to be:

1. Forcing myself to shut up, sit down and crank out some pages instead of screwing around on the Internet

2. Not getting completely worked up that they aren't EXACTLY what I want them to be on the first pass - I will come back and revise/wordsmith later

3. Accept that a good chunk of what I'm writing will simply get cut during the revision process and go straight to the circular folder

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LDWriter2
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quote:
Originally posted by mdavidge:
Thanks everyone, it's good to be back.

Took a few hours to shovel out, but I'm all ready to head back to the grindstone tomorrow, just trying to sneak in the time to write my daily 750 words before the weekend comes to a close.

Yeah, falling into the "Trope Trap" was definitely an easy thing to do when I first started... it did NOT help that I was basically writing modified Arthurian fiction (straight up "teenage boy has huge destiny in front of him, is given magical object and must flee from the evil magician's minions" stuff).

Now that I'm trying to get back into it (albeit it different stories), the hardest things seem to be:

1. Forcing myself to shut up, sit down and crank out some pages instead of screwing around on the Internet

2. Not getting completely worked up that they aren't EXACTLY what I want them to be on the first pass - I will come back and revise/wordsmith later

3. Accept that a good chunk of what I'm writing will simply get cut during the revision process and go straight to the circular folder

The Arthurian fiction can still be done if done right and with some type of twist.

But of the list you made. Number one is why Dean Wesley Smith says to have a computer just for writing: no internet, no games, no videos, nothing else. Maybe songs but that would be it. A cheap older computer is useful for that.

I have found with Number two what you want to write is written the more you learn and practice.

Number three: again I have found that most of what I put in while writing stays in the story. That isn't one hundred percent and I have been known to change a scene that didn't go the way I wanted it to later but as I said Most of the time I write what I want to stay. Of course different writers have different techniques and styles so not everyone does it that way.

Oh Dean's name comes up a lot here, I've known him online for six years or so-he was the first pro who I kinda of, sort of mentored under-, others here just meet him. But if you're interested http://www.deanwesleysmith.com

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mdavidge
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Hahahaha... yes... that sounds like a wonderful idea...

I feel like such a creep, because I went to a book signing in Boston by Pat Rothfuss, and during Q&A, someone asked him "Pat, do you listen to music when you write?" and he responded "No, that's... weird."

For me however, I feel a need to throw on some quiet, relaxed classical music in the background... just as white noise to keep me from going all A.D.D. and going to check my Facebook, or read about Dinosaurs or something...

Matt

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Grumpy old guy
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Matt, Hemingway said all first drafts are sh*t. I'll add to that, by saying they're supposed to be. it's there that you place the bones of your story and characters. The second, or perhaps third, draft is where you start to practice you word smithery.

Phil.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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quote:
Originally posted by mdavidge:
3. Accept that a good chunk of what I'm writing will simply get cut during the revision process and go straight to the circular folder

Not necessarily. You might want to save them in an idea folder, in case they have resonance with something you write later.

Remember, no writing is ever wasted.

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mdavidge
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Indeed, I've been hanging onto them in case I ever want to use them as part of something else... but for the idea I'm currently working on, I've literally gone down divergent paths a couple of times just to explore possibilities, and in some cases they're completely at odds with each other.

I started using a site that Pat Rothfuss and Mary Robinette Kowal were talking about called 750words.com - where the goal is to write 750 words a day, and afterwards it provides you with some statistics on what you're doing... and it's been really good at goading me into at least sitting down and writing EVERY day.

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LDWriter2
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quote:
Originally posted by mdavidge:
Hahahaha... yes... that sounds like a wonderful idea...

I feel like such a creep, because I went to a book signing in Boston by Pat Rothfuss, and during Q&A, someone asked him "Pat, do you listen to music when you write?" and he responded "No, that's... weird."

For me however, I feel a need to throw on some quiet, relaxed classical music in the background... just as white noise to keep me from going all A.D.D. and going to check my Facebook, or read about Dinosaurs or something...

Matt

One of the ways writers differ. I know of a few Pros and not so Pros who need to listen to music. I like to even though I can write without it. It could be for white noise as someone else mentioned since I have no idea want songs or how many are playing while I'm writing.

But you don't have to as I said it's one of those differences we all have to find for ourselves.

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LDWriter2
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quote:
Originally posted by Grumpy old guy:
Matt, Hemingway said all first drafts are sh*t. I'll add to that, by saying they're supposed to be. it's there that you place the bones of your story and characters. The second, or perhaps third, draft is where you start to practice you word smithery.

Phil.

For me this is another difference. I write my first draft the best I can so that all I need to do is some minor adjustments afterwards. Usually that is. Once I discovered three-fourths of the way though as story that I forgot to add all five human senses to each scene, a couple of times I added something at the end to make the MC change so I had to go back and add something to do with that at the beginning, twice or thrice I went back and made a try-fail cycle harder on my MC but as I said usually I try to write my best in that first draft. And I know a couple of pros who do the same. They do one to three drafts and that's it. The second two are more copy editing than real revising.

(Shoulder shrug) another way to learn how you write. Neither way is wrong. Some pros do six to ten drafts, a couple claim many more than that.

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mdavidge
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I wholeheartedly agree. Everyone has their own style, and should do what works for them.

In my case, I felt like I was getting so wrapped up in trying to make it perfect out of the gate that the Story itself was suffering for it, rather than just letting it free-flow and cleaning up afterwards.

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