A320ajm
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Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Sun Mar 29, 2015 12:36 pm

Hi all,

Couldn't get to sleep last night for ages, and had one of my weird late night thoughts - write a book/novel! Normally my ideas have worn off by the morning, but this one kept playing on my mind even today. I have never written a book or novel before. The only long documents I have written are scientific, which is obviously a complete different style of writing. I have some questions...

Has anyone of you wrote a novel before? And if so, do you have tips?

My main concern is that I don't know think I know enough about an idea or a place to write enough to make a novel - any ideas?

Cheers,
A320ajm
If the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'
 
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cjg225
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Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Sun Mar 29, 2015 4:15 pm

I'm certainly no expert on this, but I have written novel-length stories before (meaning not published).

In my experience, I prefer writing about things about which I already have a fairly healthy understanding, i.e. I don't have to spend and inordinate amount of time doing research or learning about the topic.

My dream would be to write a military history book (I already have the idea on what I'd like to write it on, but I never seem to get around to even doing basic stuff for it). For that I would need to do significantly more research.

Beyond that, for me, and I know I am unusual in this respect, I prefer to limit the amount of editing I will do later. I lock myself away for hours when I am writing, just banging out pages and editing them on the fly to make sure it sounds good. I have a bad habit of not preparing/outlining ahead of time, which might slow me down, but has never presented a problem for my final product, whether it be my Honors thesis, seminar papers, or the aforementioned-novel-length story. I keep my ideas in my head and don't stick to a "script", just writing things in an order in which they feel best at the moment. Later, I may shift some things around, but I feel like, with many other things, your gut feeling at the moment is better than laborious preparation of outlines and thought-exercises that do not involve actual writing of content.

For yourself, think about what interests you. What do you have an established knowledge of already? What would you like to learn about even more, or learn about for the first time? You really have to enjoy what you're writing, I think. I, probably like many, do a helluva lot better when I am writing about something I enjoy and know about rather than something I have no choice but to write about. Is there a particular topic you've always wanted to learn about? I think many writers, honestly, use writing as a way for them to make their own learning more interesting and valuable. If you can write about a topic, you're probably learning it better than you ever could just passively reading or watching.
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A320ajm
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Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Sun Mar 29, 2015 4:51 pm

Quoting cjg225 (Reply 1):

Thanks for your insight cjg225! I take it you would like to write a non-fiction book? I have a limited knowledge of aviation, and my other knowledge lies within Geophysics (and physical sciences in general) - not sure these topics would make a great novel!   I haven't considered writing a non-fiction book. Maybe that would be better for me. The other thing I thought about was about writing a sci-fi/fantasy novel - that way I don't need to have a deep knowledge of anything, as I can just let my imagination run wild.

A320ajm
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DocLightning
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Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Sun Mar 29, 2015 4:52 pm

Me? No.

My brother? Several (and they've sold well).

What would you like me to ask him?
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scbriml
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Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Sun Mar 29, 2015 5:22 pm

Quoting A320ajm (Thread starter):
Has anyone of you wrote a novel before? And if so, do you have tips?

No, I ain't wrote a novel before. Tips? Write in English.
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cjg225
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Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Sun Mar 29, 2015 5:26 pm

Quoting A320ajm (Reply 2):
I take it you would like to write a non-fiction book?

Yes. My favorite area of study is the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. There is a particular portion of the battle that has never been given its proper treatment, I think, and I'd like to remedy that someday... Which may present a problem because, if for no other reason, we're losing World War II veterans at a very high rate.  
Quoting A320ajm (Reply 2):
have a limited knowledge of aviation, and my other knowledge lies within Geophysics (and physical sciences in general) - not sure these topics would make a great novel!

You'd be surprised. There are lots of novels out there with seemingly-dry or highly-technical concepts that make great fiction. It's all in the strength of the overall story and how good the writer is at making topics interesting.

Quoting A320ajm (Reply 2):
The other thing I thought about was about writing a sci-fi/fantasy novel - that way I don't need to have a deep knowledge of anything, as I can just let my imagination run wild.

A sci-fi novel actually makes a great platform for your above-mentioned interests. Think of a geophysicist from Earth being amongst the first humans to visit another planet; I'm sure you'd need a scientist of that sort to determine more properly if the planet is suitable for habitation.  
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A320ajm
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Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Sun Mar 29, 2015 8:41 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 3):

Me? No.

My brother? Several (and they've sold well).

What would you like me to ask him?

Thanks Doc - I'd really appreciate that. I suppose just general tips for a very novice writer. Is it best to write in first or third person? Do you write an X amounts of words per day, or write intermittently? And any pitfalls to avoid would be good!

Quoting scbriml (Reply 4):
No, I ain't wrote a novel before. Tips? Write in English.

That will definitely be the case seeing as though I can only write/speak in English!

Quoting cjg225 (Reply 5):
A sci-fi novel actually makes a great platform for your above-mentioned interests. Think of a geophysicist from Earth being amongst the first humans to visit another planet; I'm sure you'd need a scientist of that sort to determine more properly if the planet is suitable for habitation.  

Ha - maybe I can be inspired off that - 2015: A Space Geodyssey  

Cheers guys,
A320ajm
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NorthstarBoy
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Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:16 am

I've written 9 (so far) unpublished novels based on the adventures of an American teenager who doesnt realize he's an extra terrestrial prince until he's called upon to take a journey to a country billions of miles from earth that was founded by a group of earthling settlers who escaped a nuclear conflagration that he will inadvertantly help to cause through participation on a foul intentioned reality show. the settlers escape is made via a commandeered space shuttle that escapes earth orbit after the settlers onboard begin to rebel and accidentally flies into a warp hole (a hole in the space time continuum) the deposits them on the other side of the universe. The series revolves around his journey to the country in question, his ascension to political power as king, then his departure for participation in a reality show and his ultimate return home to take on his freshman year of college which leads into the deaths of his parents, his decision to become a law enforcement officer, and his ultimate return to the other planet where he participates in the reality show that will ultimately see him participate in the events that lead up to the founding of the country he is king of.

That's the reader's digest version of my entire series.

I've been working on my books now for 20 years and they've given me a great deal of pleasure. When the title character originally appeared to me and i started the series (against my will, but he would not go away until i sat down and began transcribing the story he was telling me through my imagination) it also served as an escape from a steadily deteriorating existence. That in turn allowed me to re-focus myself and move forward with necessary changes in my education, career and ultimately domicile.

As for editing, i let my mother the retired english teacher do that then i incorporate (or not depending if i like them) her changes.
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einsteinboricua
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Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:06 pm

I like writing short stories and poetry, and on occasion I may even throw a few inspired outburst on Facebook or Tumblr. I am interested in knowing tips, however. So many ideas swirl in my head that I'm having a hard time setting them straight.

Quoting A320ajm (Reply 6):
Is it best to write in first or third person?

That's totally up to you. The advantage of 1st person means that it's your perception only, so you limit yourself but allow the main character to be explored deeply. The advantage of 3rd person is that you're omniscient, meaning you know everything about everyone. You can have one chapter with a main character and have another with a secondary character. Just remember who your main character is.

JK Rowling, with Harry Potter did this on a few occasions, never losing track of Harry but allowing one or two chapters to be dedicated to other characters (Snape, Dumbledore, etc.)

Quoting A320ajm (Reply 6):
Do you write an X amounts of words per day, or write intermittently?

This is up to you as well. I was told that Isabel Allende has the habit of lighting a candle and writing until it burns out. Another habit I've seen is people carrying a notebook and whenever they have inspiration, write down everything. I've been meaning to do this but my work environment doesn't really allow me much freedom to do this.
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PlymSpotter
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Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:11 pm

Yes. I can go months without writing, or write thousands of words a day for weeks at a time - in reality this is normally dictated by other commitments. I also have to be in the mood of the genre, otherwise it is pointless.

I tend to think a lot whilst falling asleep, or whilst out walking/cycling. I rarely remember everything, but I tend to think that the good ideas are those which linger and make it to ink/pixel, so I think of it as a filtering process.

If you feel like writing why not experiment by writing in the Trip Report's section of this forum?


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BestWestern
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Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:29 pm

Quoting scbriml (Reply 4):
Tips? Write in English.
Quoting A320ajm (Reply 6):
I can only write/speak in English!

Check the title....


Wife's claim to fame is that she is thanked in a 2014 Booker prize long list novel dedication.....

And our house is full of galley copies.
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Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:13 pm

My children's book, We're All in the Same Boat, was published by Putnam about 7 years ago. It did very well, but is now out of print.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0399243933?ie=UTF8&force-full-site=1
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wingman
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Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Mon Mar 30, 2015 3:01 pm

Quoting A320ajm (Reply 6):
That will definitely be the case seeing as though I can only write/speak in English!

Scbriml is trying to save you the headache of spending years writing a novel and then having it thrown out of the editor's window for basic grammar violations.

Practice a few posts and when you get to ten without errors we'll clear you for the big effort. Or like BestWestern suggests, at least fix the title. The verb tense is not goodly wroten.
 
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mariner
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Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Mon Mar 30, 2015 6:21 pm

Quoting A320ajm (Thread starter):
Has anyone of you wrote a novel before? And if so, do you have tips?

Yes, three published novels and first of all, you need to decide what you want to write about.

Thousands upon thousands of people write books every day, most of which will never be published, some because the writers don't care passionately enough about their subject and some because they're just badly written. It isn't easy.

My advice, to everyone who asks, is "write about what you know" - which applies whether you're writing a research book (non-fiction) or as in your case a novel (fiction).

If it's a novel, what is the story you want to tell and why do you think that story is interesting to other people?

Once you've worked out the story, then you have a basis, a blueprint, to develop.

mariner
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A320ajm
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Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Mon Mar 30, 2015 7:04 pm

Thanks for all your input - most of it is really useful and insightful  
Quoting BestWestern (Reply 10):
Check the title....
Quoting wingman (Reply 12):
Or like BestWestern suggests, at least fix the title. The verb tense is not goodly wroten.

This will be a big problem for me.  

My grammar is naturally poor because of the dialect in the area I grew up in. In Northern England, you speak and say things in complete contrast to how you would write them. I always get pulled up at work for this (in a joking manner of course) for "I have ran/run" etc. Give me an equation over grammar any day of the week  

However, the only way I can get better is by writing. I think in the beginning I will be writing for myself as a hobby, and perhaps to close friends and family to read - they wouldn't care about the grammar! I'm certainly going to be no JK Rowling or Dan Brown!

A320ajm
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RobertNL070
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Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Mon Mar 30, 2015 7:15 pm

Quoting A320ajm (Reply 14):

Tip: join the local public library. Are they still free in the UK? Read some standard bog English. That'll help 
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csturdiv
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Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:47 pm

I have been toying with the idea of writing, not a novel, but a longish short story. I have two short chapters written so far, but have not written any in a while. I am probably going about this the wrong way, but I am writing as well as jotting down notes, ideas and topics I want to write about. If I finish it, who knows. And if I do finish it and let somebody read it, who knows. I got the idea when I was under the influence of some cold meds and I am writing about my move and job transfer from the US to Australia.
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texan
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Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Tue Mar 31, 2015 3:42 am

Quoting A320ajm (Reply 14):
Thanks for all your input - most of it is really useful and insightful Quoting BestWestern (Reply 10):Check the title....Quoting wingman (Reply 12):Or like BestWestern suggests, at least fix the title. The verb tense is not goodly wroten.
This will be a big problem for me.

My grammar is naturally poor because of the dialect in the area I grew up in. In Northern England, you speak and say things in complete contrast to how you would write them. I always get pulled up at work for this (in a joking manner of course) for "I have ran/run" etc. Give me an equation over grammar any day of the week

However, the only way I can get better is by writing. I think in the beginning I will be writing for myself as a hobby, and perhaps to close friends and family to read - they wouldn't care about the grammar! I'm certainly going to be no JK Rowling or Dan Brown!

A320ajm

Use that in your story. Have a character--or several characters--speak and think in your local dialect. See where it leads.

But also work on having a character or characters speak in 'proper' English or other dialects. Hell, have them yell at the Northern English characters for using such poor grammar and not being able to understand them!

Texan
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Cadet985
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Tue Mar 31, 2015 7:23 am

I'm actually in the process right now of researching a book that will be textbook or encyclopedia length when finished.

Marc
 
GDB
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Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:06 am

In the mid 1990's, after reading Andrew Chaiken's 'A Man On The Moon', the classic non fiction, highly readable account of the Apollo programme, I was struck by the fact mentioned in the work that for a brief time at the end of the 1960's NASA had plans to go to Mars in the 1980's.
So I thought 'what if.........'

Started researching (pre internet) and as the details of the proposals and hardware needed emerged it was clear to me at least that the lavish Von Braun idea at the time could form the basis of a more stripped down mission launching in 1985.
No Space Shuttle, instead enhanced Saturn I's and V's, more Skylab style stations to gain long duration experience.
The characters would be fictionalised versions of real Astronauts, the Commander being a version of John Young.

Some sticking points I was working on though was making the politics work, changes in US history at the time, who would be the President to launch the effort, who would be in the White House at the time of the mission, how to retain support and funding when they were not in such a direct race with the USSR over the years?

What about the proposed NERVA nuclear engine? Would testing this and launching them (on modded Saturn V's) ever be acceptable? And after Three Mile Island? So use a modified S-II stage perhaps?
Would the results of the 1976 Viking missions make carrying on more politically difficult in peak spending years?
(I settled on the USSR finally landing a successful probe just before the Vikings, on 4th July 1976) and still pushing ahead with their big N1 rocket).

In other words, it HAD to be credible, in this I took inspiration from by far the best 'what if' on another subject, Robert Harris's classic 1992 novel 'Fatherland'.

Then while reading an article in a science mag about the whole idea of this post Apollo Mars effort, the writer of this piece, Steven Baxter, was it seems about to publish a 'what if' novel based on, you've guessed it, this very subject.
Brought the book 'Voyage' as soon as it was published and within the first few pages knew I need not bother.
Enhanced Saturn V's, some fictionalised versions of real people.........bollocks!

More recently, reading Chris Mullin's amusing political dairies, the same thing nearly happened to him.
Journalist and fiction writer Mullin, a Labour MP from 1987-2010, made his name with the novel 'A Very British Coup', a novel about a left wing UK government - as in Tony Benn style left, taking office in the late 1980's, later made into an award winning series by Channel 4.
He later met a civil servant who told him he was on the final draft of a novel about the same thing when Mullin's book got published first, just. Mullin related he was lucky to just beat it to publication.

Running around in my head more recently, since in fact the death of a certain former British PM are ideas best summarised as 'Margaret who?'

[Edited 2015-03-31 02:24:37]
 
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DarkSnowyNight
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Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Tue Mar 31, 2015 5:08 pm

Quoting A320ajm (Reply 14):
I'm certainly going to be no JK Rowling or Dan Brown!

Good. Those types are pretty boring and not really all that compelling as storytellers. So good on you for not aiming low.
But more on this below...

Quoting Cadet985 (Reply 18):
I'm actually in the process right now of researching a book that will be textbook or encyclopedia length when finished.

Marc

Well, more power to you. I don't how anyone can write a textbook, but it is an important corner of writing.

Quoting GDB (Reply 19):
In other words, it HAD to be credible, in this I took inspiration from by far the best 'what if' on another subject, Robert Harris's classic 1992 novel 'Fatherland'.

A very good book with a very lukewarm adaptation, yes.



Ok, Ajam, so... You want to write things. First, we'll address some of your concerns.

Quoting A320ajm (Reply 6):
Do you write an X amounts of words per day, or write intermittently?

Well, obviously, yes, you want a certain amount of new work to appear every so often. But you probably shouldn't worry about wordcounts unless you're some kind of asshole, or do a lot of cocaine or something. What you're really looking for is how well you work is moving along. You can write ten thousand words about smoking crack, but if your Main's no closer to becoming that kingpin you want her to be than she was last week, it's time to put faster wheels on that.

Quoting A320ajm (Reply 6):
Is it best to write in first or third person?

What's more dangerous, a grizzly bear or a great white? Depends where you are, right? Same principal applies here. A lot of really good writers have no problem going back and forth in the same work, so it can be done.

Here's what you need to consider. Your own literary motive. Do you want your story to be strong on detail, or plot omniscience? You can completely do both, if you're willing (and able, that's part of the deal too) to swap out these positions from time to time.

First person works great for character development when you really nail it. But it also means disposing of most of your narrative voice. If you have a character who's job is to be a total cunt, this is where you can bring out their own personal motives for same, to include their belief that they are not a cunt. That also means being non-judgemental as a writer, and really letting that character do their own thing, and play by their own rules. Personally, I feel that's easy (we watch real folks do that all the time, right?). This can be done in third person, but it's much harder, and doesn't yield as tangible results without being overly verbose. In either case, dialogue is king.

Third person is fantastic for suturing up plot holes, and moving things along when your people just...won't. You can also make entire stories this way, but these will have to rely much more on plot strength than character development. I'm always a little iffy on this since there are no new plots, and weak characters will infect you with yawns. More on this later...

Quoting A320ajm (Reply 2):
I thought about was about writing a sci-fi/fantasy novel - that way I don't need to have a deep knowledge of anything, as I can just let my imagination run wild.

Genre doesn't really matter. You watch Walking Dead? Doesn't really matter if you do or don't, it's popular as hell, so there's a good chance you know about it. I'm picking this as an example here specifically because it shows how much genre and deep knowledge don't really matter that much.

What we know is that it's a post apocalyptic/horror whateverydo featuring zombies. Goddam zombies. Whatever you feel about the show, there's no denying that this completely preposterous premise (I'm pretty sure Sharknado handily bests this one on the plausibility scale), about deadly meatbags has been done to hell. I don't know how many zombie movies there are, but there's probably more of them than times I've been dumped by women I thought were too ugly to have the option.

Anyway, excepting for the occasional startle or maybe the whole watching loved ones turn into monsters thing, there's really nothing emotionally evocative about the subject. So why would anyone watch this? For five seasons...

The audience gets drawn into characters is why. You look closely at any long-running series, and what you'll find is essentially a soap opera. You can throw whatever background you want on it, but a good work will make you concerned about what happens to who, next. Get good at that. Real damned good. The rest gets easy after that because you're just filling in the background with whatever you know or like.



In your shoes, I'd say to worry more about what your story is trying to accomplish overall. Develop your style enough that your story doesn't read like an editorial. Too many authors fall into the trap of having a decent plot, but a weak enough narrative (usually with correspondingly shitty character development... cough, cough, Tom Clancy) that a story reads like a rant.

In terms of what to do there, write to your audience. What kind of people are you writing to? What do you think they want to hear about? There are some basics; no one like to feel stupid or unpopular, so morality tales are probably out. And much as I hate to admit it, you'll never sell anything that doesn't at least pretend to have a happy ending (there's a reason we're wired to like fiction). Add to all that, protagonists, even if somewhat anti-heroic, will still need to fall into basic norms (no one wants a story where the child-molester hero saves the day by teaching supporting characters how to break into a pre-school on weekends). But beyond those kinds of things, it's really up to you to figure out what you want to have happen, and how you think you can share that with your audience.

All that's for actually writing your work. Do you intend to sell this one day? If not, you can stop reading, no worries...




Ok, so either you're going to sell this, or you're some kind of... compulsive reader, I guess. If you're looking into sharing you work with the world, start looking into that now.

There's always the option of self-publishing (often referred to as "vanity" writing). This is great if you want to keep everything you make, which you'll have to since it won't be a lot. But it's not so great for pretty much everything else. Production and Advert costs are more than most people realize and you cannot take the kind of losses a publishing house can to get something off the ground. So, honestly, I'd go with option B.

You'll need to find a reputable literary agent. Reputable in this case means commissioned, and honestly, somewhat picky about what they take on. Which leads to the next...

Be open about criticisms. You're going to (not maybe... going to) get a lot of "ugly baby" comments. Listen to what's being said, and if you need to, ask how best to act on it. This encompasses everything from grammar to plot to character development, to being afraid of "saids". Hear what they're saying, and dig out the right spanners from your tool box to fix it.

That's all before a story gets to a publisher's editor, by the way. The last part of "reputable" for a Lit Agent is that, simply put, they know their shit. There's usually not much a publisher's editors will want to do, beyond the usual copyright stuff.

Getting all that right doesn't promise a NYTimes bestseller either, but if you already have a real job, seeing your work on a shelf somewhere is awesome enough.


Good Luck.
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Cadet985
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Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:33 am

Quoting DarkSnowyNight (Reply 20):
Well, more power to you. I don't how anyone can write a textbook, but it is an important corner of writing.

I picked a topic I like (aviation), and am trying to write a book on aviation and its history and current operations in the US. I have a lot of books to read for research, and will almost definitely be ordering more. It started out as being a book on the history of airports.

Marc
 
opethfan
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Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:15 am

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 8):
That's totally up to you. The advantage of 1st person means that it's your perception only, so you limit yourself but allow the main character to be explored deeply. The advantage of 3rd person is that you're omniscient, meaning you know everything about everyone. You can have one chapter with a main character and have another with a secondary character. Just remember who your main character is.

In fiction, there's first person, but also 3 key types of third person narration: subjective, objective, and omniscient.

Subjective is essentially first person, but you're writing about someone who isn't you. It's all about them, what they're feeling and so on. But only that one character.

Objective only covers what can be seen, it's like a documentary with no narration. Hemingway is a good example of this style.

Omniscient means the narrator can read everyone's thoughts and future actions. The narrator is God.

As for OP needing advice, I'd suggesting registering for a few courses at a local community college. A 100 level creative writing class and linguistics will do well for presenting your work to others for critique, seeing what you do and don't like from other people's work, and also might address some of the more egregious Northern-isms.
 
A320ajm
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RE: Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:12 pm

Thanks again to all for your advice - one thing I've realised even more is this would be no small feat. But I am still giving this a lot of thought!  

A320ajm
If the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'
 
Airstud
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RE: Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Thu Apr 02, 2015 6:27 am

Quoting A320ajm (Thread starter):
I don't know think I know enough about an idea or a place to write enough to make a novel

"Writing is like driving at night in the fog: You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." - E.L. Doctorow
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RE: Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Sat Apr 04, 2015 4:48 am

I've been toying with this idea myself for many years ... I've no experience in writing and I'm sure my skills need to be worked on but I've actually bit the bullet and currently writing a novel more suited for younger people.

The problem I always found is to find a topic, a topic that not only interests me, but other people as well, something they may want to read as well.

Any who, one day at work I was just sitting there and I saw a fox watching a raven. So, I decided to name him. The rest of the day I was just talking to myself and talking about this fox and kind of just came up with a story for him. I thought to myself, this might actually make a half decent book, so I figured I'd start writing about the fox and his adventures ... next thing you know, the ideas just came on their own. The story keeps evolving and new ideas pop up and its actually turning out better than I'd hoped.

I have no idea when I'll be finished it, but once it is, I'll see what the next step is and who knows? Maybe one day It'll be published. One never knows  
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Airstud
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RE: Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Sat Apr 04, 2015 9:26 am

Quoting A320ajm (Reply 6):
Do you write an X amounts of words per day

Bad idea. You will waste a lot of time and write a lot of crap just to satisfy such a plastic expectation.

As PlymSpotter says, there will be days when you have a thousand or more words coming out of you; and those days may be weeks apart, and on an intervening day you might write 500 words, or zero, or thirty-four.

Rent the 1990 Akira Kurasawa film Dreams. It's a collection of eight short (and allegedly interconnected) films. Pay especial attention to (or for all I care, watch only) the segment called "Crows."

It will tell you absolutely everything you need to be told about the creative process.

[Edited 2015-04-04 02:41:27]
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mariner
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RE: Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:25 am

Quoting Airstud (Reply 26):
Bad idea. You will waste a lot of time and write a lot of crap just to satisfy such a plastic expectation.

I don't think there are any rules.

I know terrific writers who write a set amount of words each day. It is a technique that works for them, they usually have enormously disciplined minds and tremendous command of language.

Similarly, I know terrific writers who only work in fits and starts, as the mood takes them. I know writers who will not proceed to a new chapter until the chapter they are writing is as good as they can make it - others who press on to the end of a book and then go back and fix it.

For me, the greatest discipline is a deadline. I can faff around for weeks, letting the ideas percolate in my mind, but a deadline spurs me to commit, even if that deadline is only self imposed.

Usually, I pick on odd moments form the work, moments that I know I love, and write those first, trusting my instincts that they will all eventually connect.

Sometimes, I write the first few pages first. And sometimes I write the ending first.

Quoting Airstud (Reply 26):
It will tell you absolutely everything you need to be told about the creative process.

It will tell you about Kurosawa's creative process. Other artists may have quite different processes.

I don't think I can define my own. I don't know why certain ideas click for me, while others don't. I don't know how I can dredge up from the back my mind people or events or incidents or moments - memories - that are relevant to what I am writing. I only know that it happens and I don't try and analyse that process.

mariner
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kaitak
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RE: Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:35 am

I've been writing a book for the past ten years now; I go to my local library most Saturdays and make notes and I probably have enough ideas to fill about three books. The subject is how to challenge cynicism in politics and since I look at it from an Irish perspective, you can bet that it'll be a hard sell. Still, I think it's worth doing and I'm excited about it.

The problem I have is that although I have lots of ideas and I am convinced that it would be a subject of much interest, the actual process of sitting down and translating those ideas into readable prose is a big challenge for me ... and most publishers are quite keen on that part!

It's not something I'm in a rush to do, because I always anticipated it taking a long time, but I feel I am closer to bringing it to fruition.

Maybe setting myself a deadline would be a good idea, but I will wait until I have actually written one or two chapters, to see how that works out and I'll have a better idea of a realistic end date.
 
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einsteinboricua
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RE: Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:55 am

Quoting mariner (Reply 27):
And sometimes I write the ending first.

JK Rowlings had the ending to Harry Potter long before the 7th book was even conceived. Like you said, there are no rules.
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na
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RE: Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:58 am

I havent written a novel, but I have five books published since 2009. They all sold reasonably well, none was a failure, and one is close to sell-out now. But its more a paid hobby for me than a money maker. A way to spend long winter days with something better than visiting a pub or watching TV.

A former colleague of mine who has been writing novels since the early 90s has become a millionaire and TV regular.

Quoting zrs70 (Reply 11):

My children's book, We're All in the Same Boat, was published by Putnam about 7 years ago. It did very well, but is now out of print.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0399243933?ie=UTF8&force-full-site=1

Very nice. There are still a few available on amazon. I might buy one for the birthday of one of my godchildren.
 
BestWestern
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RE: Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:20 pm

If you are writing Fiction, the best way to improve your style is to join a book club.

Good Libraries are an excellent way to meet like minded readers and writers - for example:

http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/com...fo/arts/creative_writing_group.htm
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VapourTrails
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RE: Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Sun Apr 05, 2015 8:52 am

Quoting A320ajm (Thread starter):
Has anyone of you wrote a novel before? And if so, do you have tips?

My main concern is that I don't know think I know enough about an idea or a place to write enough to make a novel - any ideas?


Start with short stories. I have completed one short story so far - only unpublished, just for family members and friends, with the intention to do many more. I decided a few years ago that I would write about certain aspects of my life, e.g. a childhood family holiday, a day in the life of a hobby, aspects of my career and personal thoughts and life of.

In my experience so far - once started, it is easy to write briefly, up to one thousand words, on a single topic based on personal experiences. This first one was set at five hundred words, and got to nearly one thousand. You would be suprised at how much can come out once you start writing! I gave it a working title, and got the final product done without anyone proof-reading it. After that then someone else read through it, I got a few tips, and left this one as original, and will apply the tips to the next ones.

It was interesting to note the perception someone else had reading it, as it was not their life experience and so was a good unbiased view. As mine are written mostly for family they will relate to the detail, so confirm your audience in your mind as you write.

With the writing, do it when you feel inspired and have the right environment to write and gather thoughts in, this can also produce better results in my opinion.

As I have not set myself any deadlines, it has been nearly a year now and I have not gotten back into it. I feel I need to set myself a deadline, say, to complete a one thousand word story every three months. I also plan to do sets of short stories, on a common theme. This can also be a way to build into a novel one day if you want to start this way, and then rework it into a larger story.

I would love to write children's stories, and read them still, and am inspired by pretty much any, including the one from a poster in this thread. When I was looking for a new A.net tag line here, one that would fit in the space provided, I came across another children's author; another new find, that was meant to be. To go into writing fiction would be a next step and one that I would like to do, particularly aviation-related, or one that involved nature or animals.

Another tip that I have is to read a lot. If you would like to write a novel, read a lot of novels beforehand. Read different authors to compare different writing styles.

I was offered to edit a couple of unpublished books for children from a friend who was writing them for her grandchildren. It gave me a good insight into the individuality of writing and how there are so many angles you can give a story. The sky is the limit!   
 
Kekka
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RE: Has Anyone Written A Book/Novel?

Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:04 pm

Quoting A320ajm (Thread starter):

I've written 3 books: 1 fiction and 2 non-fiction but nothing science based. I can tell offer advice from my experiences

For non-fiction, once an idea comes to mind write it down along with any thoughts that might include setting (time-frame, country), plot/theme (drama, romance, historical, action, fantasy, etc.), character/s, etc. If an idea comes to you then some of these things will already be part of that idea.

I've written alot of material but I don't get all technical about how to write as though I just finished writing school. But there are several basic components that are important in writing a novel, same as writing the lyrics & music to a song, which will lead you to composition and structure.

Then comes research. If your idea is during a certain time frame in a certain country or region then you need to know all about it. Your characters will have to fit into that time frame/region (how they dress, talk/dialect, customs, etc.). The setting also has to match.

Often I will just write down a basic idea/plot: "soldier from missing 7th Roman Legion...maybe has amnesia...meets/falls in love with Scottish highland girl...saved by Scottish girl from battlefield...Roman army searching for him...he's only survivor to tell the tale...Caledonians...", etc.

If I were to continue on this train of thought, I'd begin with something along the lines of the Roman invasion/occupation of England. Battles that various legions encountered with the Picts/Caledonians and highlanders. Then begin to develop characters: leaders, fighters, friends, army conscripts, etc. that were part of the Roman army. Somewhere in there will be my main character/s and supporting characters.

Then the story should start to open up and the tale takes on a life of it's own that follows the original idea (more or less). Drama, suspense, action, romance, mystery, romance, loss, etc. would follow (not in that order) to build the story. Sometimes I already have an idea for the ending phase and sometimes it comes as I work my way through it all.

Hope some of that helps

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