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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Hatrack Groups » Novel Group, Anyone? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Novel Group, Anyone?
InarticulateBabbler
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I don't know if this is why this section was started, but, it recently came to my attention that a few of us are writing novels and no one has a running group. So, here I am.

My plan is to keep an active archive of what we've accomplished daily and weekly. We can trade chapters off for critique, but only if you have one ready to be critiqued. (Remeber, these are 1st drafts and need loose--fundamental--critiques. No line edits.)

Who's interested?


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KayTi
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Well it's a dream of mine to get back to my nano project from last year and polish it, send it out and see what happens. So ... um... me?

Low low low on the available time, though, but maybe having some partners in crime would help me.


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BoredCrow
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How did you know I needed something like this, IB? Clearly you can read minds...
My first novel is at the stage of "I know it has flaws, but I'm not sure how to fix them." So I'd love any input.

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InarticulateBabbler
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Okay. There's no real time limit, or group number limit.

My goal is to at least double my present 250 words a day. (I'm thinking to start simple.) This word count is brand new prose only--it doesn't include research, rewrites or editing. (BC, you could effectively work on another idea for this part.)

Post your goals.

At the end of the week we announce our progress, here. Keep a sort of running tab. All of our schedules are bound to change from time to time, and there's no penalty for not getting the work done, but there is kudos for achieving your goals.

I think we should start Friday (keeping track of our weekly goals). How about it?

When a chapter is finished, announce it. WHen the others have an available time, they will request it. (I believe, since we three have alternate affiliations, that we know each other's emails.) No line-by-lines (which is going to be exceedingly hard for me ). My plan is to read through, mention any major problems, and deliver it back.

Revisions/Edits/ReDrafts will have goals set when the need arises.

Any thoughts?

[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited September 09, 2008).]


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annepin
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I'd like to participate!
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InarticulateBabbler
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Welcome aboard!
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debhoag
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I'd like to get in on this, although the novel I'm currently working on is a present-time thriller. No fantastic elements. Can I still play?
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Reagansgame
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Count me in. I'm re-polishing one, fixing another and jotting random notes for the outline of the next in a series that may or may not end with the next book.
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InarticulateBabbler
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quote:

I'd like to get in on this, although the novel I'm currently working on is a present-time thriller. No fantastic elements. Can I still play?

1) I didn't say "speculative fiction" novels. I'm not writing a speculative piece (Mine's a Historical Fiction), so, Deb, the answer is yes.

2) If it matters whether or not the work is speculative, speak now or forever hold your peace.

3) Anyone can join. Anyone. So long as you're willing to abide by the rules, you are welcome.

I'll start a "Goals" thread on Friday, where everyone can post their week's goals. The following Friday, we'll report in on how we did and any new goals.

How's that sound?


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Gardener
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Wow, I really need this sort of thing right now. I'm working on a dark mystery or maybe it's a thriller. I've been wondering where I could get feedback because it's not speculative.

Yes, please, can I join?


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InarticulateBabbler
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Okay, if you want in--and you don't see your name on the list--cut and paste the list and add your name to the bottom.

_______In________

  • InarticulateBabbler
  • KayTi
  • BoredCrow
  • annepin
  • debhoag
  • Reagansgame
  • Gardener


All set?

[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited September 09, 2008).]


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annepin
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How about when we are done we post the first 13 of the chapter? That way people can get a taste of what we we're writing.

I'm saying this because I've had mixed results with novel groups. It seems pretty important to have people who might enjoy the setting, style, and genre in which you write. Otherwise, the crits can be painfully demoralizing.


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debhoag
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are we going to post our thirteens here?
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InarticulateBabbler
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quote:

It seems pretty important to have people who might enjoy the setting, style, and genre in which you write. Otherwise, the crits can be painfully demoralizing.

I can see that. Hopefully, everyone is all for helping the others do their best--but, if there is an issue that anyone has with a certain genre, it needs to be addressed now.

So. Everyone list the genre that they're writing in, and a short synopsis. If anyone has an aversion to a storyline or genre, speak up now.

Mine is:

Genre: Historical Fiction/Adventure

Tentative Title: Storm's Fury

Brief Synopsis: A young man is pulled into the American Revolution by the death of his brother and the events along the Battle Road. When he joins the Continental Marines, he is unwittingly assigned to a ship inhabited by a Royalist spy--a spy who recognizes him. Now he must not only survive his mission, but also survive the spy's clandestined attempts to kill him.

Next.

[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited September 09, 2008).]


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Rhaythe
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Interesting idea... still recruiting here?
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InarticulateBabbler
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Ayuh. In before Friday is in. (This is not a short-term project. It'll be an on-going project, hopefully throughout a couple of projects.)
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debhoag
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Genre: Thriller w/romance

Tentative Title: Harper Street

Sort-of Brief Synopsis: Addy Harper is a former party girl who has turned her life around. She now is the director of the Harper Street Shelter in Tucson. On her 30th birthday, ten years after the death of her estranged father, Addy and her brother Paul stand to inherit Ben Harper's fortune. A month before Addy's birthday, the police become aware of a link between a number of unsolved murders involving shelter regulars - big money insurance policies paying out to Addy Harper. Homicide detective Renner Cole poses as a street bum to find out who is killing the residents of Harper Street - and exactly how Addy Harper is involved.

Next!

[This message has been edited by debhoag (edited September 09, 2008).]


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Unwritten
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_______In________


InarticulateBabbler
KayTi
BoredCrow
annepin
debhoag
Reagansgame
Gardener
Unwritten

Of course you know this is going to ruin my Nanowrimo plans. Ah, well, November is a long way away, and this sounds way more exciting, so...I'm in!

[This message has been edited by Unwritten (edited September 09, 2008).]


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LAJD
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Why would it ruin NaNoWriMo plans? Couldn't we weave NaNoWriMo into this?

I have been plotting and planning for a NaNoWriMo piece for the past couple of months. My backstory work grew a life of its own and became YA novel that is now about 10K and 2.5 chapters. I plan to just keep slogging away on this while I continue to plan the NaNoWriMo assault.

I'd like to throw my backstory novel in this pot, if it would be okay that I plan to churn out about 1 chapter each month. Some weeks I only work on the novel for a few (2-3) hours and others much more.

I'd be happy to commit to a level of crits that is above what I post. It would be great, in fact, I really learn a lot from all of your writing.

Thanks
Leslie


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Unwritten
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Genre:Young Adult Fantasy Romance

Tentative Title:Are you kidding? I can't even think of titles for my 13 line submissions, let alone for a whole novel!

Brief Synopsis:This will be a sequel to my first novel, but it follows a different set of characters. Drew has been in hiding for 4 years when he meets Heather, whose life was destroyed when her boyfriend killed her twin sister. This book will follow their romance and healing. It also follows Jenny as she learns to use the gift she discovered in the first book.


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Reagansgame
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Genre: Horror/Thriller/seems to be warping into something of a fantasy, which is very, very shaky ground for me.

Tentative Title: Currently, we'll go with Untitled, I'm tossing around Blahbittyblahblah Redemption: Book two of the Search for Redemption Series

Brief Synopsis: lotsa stuff. In book two, some loose ends are tied up from book one, then an ultimate bad guy is set up with super powers and the trio of super not so average joe heros are established. Lots of underlying real world stuff at the same time where people are dealing with personal issues. Sounds lame, prolly is. But there's a black, full length leather jacket and kicking involved, which worked for the Matrix, so I'm holding out a little hope.
(I'll drink the jonestown punch before volunteering to write a decent synopsis. I bomb every time.)


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Unwritten
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quote:
Why would it ruin NaNoWriMo plans? Couldn't we weave NaNoWriMo into this?

I don't want to hijack this thread with my Nanowrimo pontifications, so I'll just say that I wouldn't miss it for the world. It's loads of fun, and it would probably dovetail with this group nicely.


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LAJD
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Genre:Young Adult Fantasy Adventure
Tentative Title: I have a real crappy one that I hate. Ew.

Brief Synopsis: Grace, Liz and David have been friends since grade school. Grace and David grew up knowing that they are different, shape-shifters. Heck everyone is in their families but Liz is just a normal girl. One day, Liz zaps her computer and she realizes she can start fires, control fire, play with fire. She turns to her friends who also reveal their secrets to her. The next day Liz and her Mom disappear. But not entirely, Liz can communicate with Grace and David via text messages relayed through Facebook, Twitter and other sites. While she is not sure exactly where she is or how she got there, she has a pretty good idea of how to help David and Grace figure it out.


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KayTi
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I have *got* to find more time in my days to write! Too many projects, not enough time.

OK - my goals are to edit my current WIP novel that's had enough time on the shelf by now that I should be able to get friendly with it again.

It's not separated into chapters yet, though, so I'm laughing at the whole chapter thing. Right not it's just 53k of text all in a lump, typos and everything.

Genre: YA Science Fiction
Working Title: Convergence
Synopsis: Things aren't going very well for Anya in her first few weeks on the space station Convergence. The low-grav days at her school throw her for a loop - literally, and she seems to have gotten on the bad side of both the Queen Bee of the school and the Computer Science teacher. Her only friend is a computer, the central computer that operates most of the space station. Anya names her Isis and promises to keep Isis' existence, or rather awareness, secret-something that becomes even more important when she uncovers a plot to harm Isis. She eventually befriends a few humans, but will they be able to help Anya stop the plot to steal her computer friend, compete in the school's Wall-Ball tournament, and navigate the perils of high school life - in space?


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BoredCrow
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I'm terrible at writing synopses.
Well, this is the one that needs editing:

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Tentative Title: Varanian
Brief Synopsis: Though Leanna is fated to destroy her city, she has no wish to do so. Now she has to try to explain that to the terrorists who have kidnapped her, and find a way to save her city and herself using a magic that is in no way suited for fighting.


And if I'm doing one in-progress too, it'd be this.

Genre: Futuristic Dark Fantasy
Tentative Title:
Brief Synopsis:
The human race, abandoned by God, is dying. The one chance lies in searching for a hidden artifact in a graveyard full of demons. The rules is that each human has one opportunity to search for it, but Celeste decides she is no longer interested in living by the rules.


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debhoag
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King's Falcon did an excellent post a while back on format for synopsis writing. I have a hard time with it, too, and I went back and looked that thread up when I got serious about doing a good job. There's something about it that I am just basically uncomfortable with - I think it's the idea of putting all my plot twists out there. About half "I don't want to give away my secrets" and about half "it'll look stupid without the writing to make it work". Argh.
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annepin
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sorry, my brain is fried. I tried, but I'll come back tomorrow morning to post.

[This message has been edited by annepin (edited September 10, 2008).]


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kings_falcon
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Thanks Deb.

Sign me up too.


The problem with using what we are doing here for NaNo is you can't have any of the story written for NaNo when it starts. Outlines, character charts, whatever, sure, but no story. If we start the writing date for 11-1 for those of us who want to NaNo (ME!!), we could do this for it too, but WIPs are out for NaNo.


So, with that said, I think I'm going to outline (*GASP*) the NaNo as well work on finishing last year's NaNo for this one.


NaNo 2007

Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Erotica

Tentative Title: The Masquarade

Brief Synopsis: If she'd known that doing a favor for her best friend would change everything she thought she knew about herself and justice, Jenna, the youngest partner in a big Washington, DC law firm, would've worked late Friday night instead of going to the masquarade. Now, she's involved in a relationship that pushes her understanding of who she is and her simple bankruptcy case has become a federal criminal witch hunt which makes her wonder about the nature of justice.


NaNo 2008

Genre: Thriller

Tentative Title: Dead Reckoning

Brief Synopsis: MC is a young associate and she's just been handed a milk run for her first trial - a wrongful death case against the company that maintained the decedent's (dead guy's) airplane. Since the plane's engine blew apart and turned its occupant into sushi, it's a case even the corpse can win. Until, the widow refuses the settlement offer. Now, the mob, and a large pharmaceutical company want the MC off the case, permanently.


The NaNo 2008's going to be an outline project until November.


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kings_falcon
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unless of course, I can keep playing/revising Falcon, but I think that violates the no re-writes/edit rule.
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InarticulateBabbler
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So, it's:
_______In________


InarticulateBabbler
KayTi
BoredCrow
annepin
debhoag
Reagansgame
Gardener
Unwritten
LAJD
kings_falcon

Is that everybody?


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Tiergan
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Is that it? Jeez, I thought we had til Firday. I'm in.

_______In________

InarticulateBabbler
KayTi
BoredCrow
annepin
debhoag
Reagansgame
Gardener
Unwritten
LAJD
kings_falcon
Tiergan

Will fill out my brief synopsis and such later today.


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Gardener
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Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Tentative Title: Unforgivable

Synopsis: Victor has an odd hobby. He likes to break into houses to admire works of art. His friend, Detective Anderson has been turning a blind eye for years. Until people start dying. A serial killer is using Victor to gain access to new victims. As the killings continue, Victor must find a way to stop an unforgivable present and an unbearable future.


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InarticulateBabbler
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Wow. What an interesting turnout. I thought there'd be a small group, and we could switch off, but 11 manuscripts is a bit much for me to take on. So, Friday, when we post our goals, we'll round up the genres and find out who likes what the best. I think we'll have to divide into two groups, and that might be a good thing: after the initial "loose" critiques we can polish and send them to the other group.

Thoughts? Questions?


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marchpane
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Room for one more?

I think this sounds like a really great idea, and it could be what I need, since I have decided - foolishly or otherwise - to finish my novel. Is it a problem that I am some way through the novel already, as long as everything I've been writing is new stuff?


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kings_falcon
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So what's the decision on revising Falcon?? Does it qualify or do I need to work on Masq until NaNo starts?

Otherwise splitting into two groups sounds like a great plan.


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BoredCrow
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I think two or more groups would be a great idea. I like to stagger sending things to people anyway, because people often notice the same mistakes.

I think I'm going to focus on the unwritten novel (Graveyard), since I'm about to start torturing my in-person writing group with my written novel. I'm not sure what you think, IB, but I don't see why we can't swap revisions with new material just as long as we're not doing line edits.


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debhoag
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Boy, I like reading just about everything, but I wonder if us thriller writers should form one group, and the fantasy writers another. What do you think?
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InarticulateBabbler
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_______In________

InarticulateBabbler
KayTi
BoredCrow
annepin
debhoag
Reagansgame
Gardener
Unwritten
LAJD
kings_falcon
Tiergan
marchpane

That's 12. That makes two even groups, so welcome aboard, marchpane.

The reason I wanted to start with new works (as far as revisions go) is:

  • we all start in the same boat.
  • we bolster each other, urge everyone to finish our projects.
  • we all have one chapter at a time to present.

    I'd suggest those of you that are at a polishing stage to form your own group (at least for that stage), and eventually we will be in that one, too.

    As far as revisions...if they are a re-drafting, that would count as "new" writing. You would--in effect--be using your old manuscripts as outlines. And a re-draft would be the same as a first draft, only using a better thought out outline.

    Agreed?


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  • KayTi
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    I'm working on an existing novel, but "redrafting" covers what I'll be doing to it well enough. I simply don't have the throughput to develop a new work now, not with Nano on the horizon - so this will have to do for me.

    Dividing up sounds good, I don't do some genres so this will give me an opportunity to avoid them. I'm sure everyone writes lovely prose, but I just don't read Horror, you don't want me to read yours.

    Seems like there's quite a few targeting the YA segment - perhaps we could form a group since we may be able to share market knowledge and other specifics with one another.

    [This message has been edited by KayTi (edited September 11, 2008).]


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    debhoag
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    works for me, IAB.
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    satate
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    May I join too? It'll make it uneven. I'm redrafting a fantasy novel.
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    InarticulateBabbler
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    Sure, satate. There's still a day or so left, so, it might drag another in.

    KayTi and Deb. I don't know about dividing up like that, but (KayTi specifically) we'll definitely put you in a group without a genre you have an aversion to.

    For the most part--until there's something to trade--it will just be a sort-of support group. It'll be a thread that you can say, "I've brought my current WIP up to 22,250 words!" or "I got another 1,000 words last night," or something of that nature. And we can say, "That's great, only 77,750 to go! You're doing great!" or "How long until you get that chapter done?" You know...

    There's no limit to how many people we can do that for--no matter what genre. As far as critiquing chapters goes, that's when we'll have to break it down...


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    debhoag
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    Well, I guess my next question, then, is: is anybody else ready to exchange chapters? I'm cruising at 20,000 words, and I'm ready for feedback. Although, my chapters are long. It might be better to trade off by word count or pages.
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    Gardener
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    I'm turning a screenplay into a novel. Actually 2 screenplay versions of the same story merged and translated into novel. Which is where it belonged in the first place. So, if I considered the screenplays as a meaty outline, then it's all new work.

    I would be happy to split into groups. I don't know if I would be an effective critic of YA. Does it have different rules from adult novels? I read some stuff on Critters that drove me crazy with the silliness and slang. Not sure if that is typical of the genre or just a very young writer.

    I like most anything, as long as the characters are strong.


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    InarticulateBabbler
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    I have a couple of chapters done, Deb, but I don't want to start anything until we all have out goals listed in tomorrow's thread, when we can see where everyone stands.
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    KayTi
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    Gardener, for me YA means a young protag, and themes that are age-appropriate. I don't use a ton of slang other than the made-up stuff I need for my space setting. Others may differ in their approach, but for me I'd rather my YA novel still be applicable in 20 years than to date it to 2008, know what I mean?

    May be different for others, but that's my story. If reading about a younger protag (and the kinds of things she cares about - school, boys, LOL) doesn't interest you, then that's fine to take a pass.

    I jokingly refer to my novel WIP as "Harry Potter in Space" if that helps qualify it. While the protag is a girl and cares about some stuff that is unique to her age, mostly she's trying to unravel a puzzle, solve a problem, and get people to accept her. Somewhat universal stuff there.


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    debhoag
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    could you give us a format for tomorrow's post, IAB?
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    InarticulateBabbler
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    I just got back to the line of thinking that made me timid about breaking up into genre-specific groups, and thought I would elaborate:

    Although there are obvious differnces in genres, I don't believe that's true of writing. For example, Mystery and Suspense shouldn't cheat what a PoV knows (and therefore what the reader knows) to make a story more intriguing. If you don't want the reader to know, don't write in a PoV that does. So, any novel should have the techniques of good story writing. Granted, if you don't like bodice-rippers or horror, you shouldn't critique them because you'll have a predisposition against them.

    Since this is a volunteer affair, it shouldn't matter what group you are in--if you don't dig the story, simply inform the writer why (as in the dislike of genre, or if something in the prose drives you away--so you can be as helpful as possible.

    When I start the new thread, tomorrow, I'll cut and paste the list of group members in entirety and then my synopsis from here and my goals at the bottom. Under that, I'll list my preferences and aversions. I ask everybody else to the same, without interruptions, until everyone listed is done. That way, we'll have some basic organization.

    In here, we can then decide who goes in which group. Some of us are fast readers (Deb) and critiquers (Me), and will have time to do more than our share/group. Any who wish to do so are welcome to request any member's story.

    For, say "Aye!"

    Opposed, say "Nay!" (And suggest something else. Because it's of no help to just vote "Nay".)


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    BoredCrow
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    Aye!

    I think I'm more of a critiquer, but if I paid close attention to myself I could probably do fast crits too.


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    debhoag
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    Aye!
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