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Re: Hemmingway app to improve your writing. Experiences? i've actually used it off and on since it first showed upon hacker news last year.  it's actually fairly useful if you use it right.  and, of course, by use it right i mean take all of its advice with a grain of salt.

so i've actually found it useful for a few things:
  • i'm overly zealous with my adverbs (see what i did there?) so it helps me trim out the obvious ones
  • it helps me keep the ratio of complex:simple sentences under control by pointing out where i have large swaths of simple or endless piles of the complex.
  • the word swap has been useful on an occasion or two.

so, will it make your writing better?  no.  will it help you make valuable decisions about your own writing?  maybe.  is it worth a quick copy-paste?  probably.

June 22, 2015, 03:34:54 PM
Re: Annoying Reading you guys have hit on a few of mine -- head-hopping, silly motivations, etc. -- but the one that makes me insane is getting pounded by a relentless cavalcade of adjectives.

for example:
"He licked dry lips with a dry tongue and adjusted his purple cape about his bony shoulders."

that's one of the first sentences in legend.  i almost put the book down right there.  the only reason i ended up reading (and enjoying) the book was because of the ridiculous amount of praise and recommendations and awards for gemmell.

July 05, 2015, 05:08:18 PM
Re: How do you feel about stand-alone books? i think @Raptori just identified another kind of stand-alone for me.  the "story with recurring characters, a plot that wraps up, and tendrils that can be followed for other stories" kind.  (that oxford comma was in there just for you, btw!)

and, @Hedin -- i'm currently in the middle of a brent weeks binge, but i think abercrombie is totally going to be my next obsession.  it shames me greatly that i haven't read a single one of his books yet.

July 09, 2015, 07:18:19 PM
Re: How do you feel about stand-alone books?
I was thinking about Game of Thrones the other day as the world's longest shaggy dog story.

omg.  i totally just laughed out loud.  like, for reals.

Yeah each WoT book so far (currently reading #6) builds towards its own climax, but it does feel like one continuous story more than separate ones.  :)

ah.  you're about to hit the go-nowhere-land-of-subplots that are books 7 through 11.  the story and the world just had so much going on that it kind of spun out of his control.  have no fear, tho.  once sanderson picks it up, he storms through, tying up most of the loose ends.  and the last couple books roar through to a close, all packed with adrenalin and stuff.

July 09, 2015, 10:58:10 PM
Re: This website is being ruined.
Sounds amazing. I love how the topic of this topic has changed. :D

not really!  just the context:  "This website is being ruined."

duh!  by not having a mobile version!

July 14, 2015, 08:26:23 PM
Re: How much did you write today? 775 words.  back from vacation!
July 29, 2015, 04:22:22 PM
Re: How much did you write today? slow start getting back into the routine, but banged out 837 words in a complex setup and exchange for scene three.
July 30, 2015, 04:30:48 PM
Re: Does There Need To Be A Hook? okay.  i'm going to tackle this from a couple angles.

angle one:  i've been reading an ENORMOUS amount of writing advice in the last month.

angle two:  i've studied the attention economy for a long, long time.

so, here goes.

first, i agree with most of the sentiments on this page so far:
 - depends on what you mean by hook.
 - you have to make agents (and readers) turn that first page.
 - you can create hooks (tension and conflict) in all kinds of ways.

second, probably the most helpful advice i've read has come from donald maass.  he's got a book, "writing the breakout novel", that's really, really good.  it's filled with examples and works through all of the technical aspects of assembling all of these story elements.  did i mention a bajillion examples?!

that being said, here's a link to a nicely condensed version of his hook-related commentary.   http://www.wordsfromtheherd.com/tension-the-hooks-that-drives-the-story-2/

third, it's the attention economy, man.  there is only one truly inelastic resource in our universe -- time.  that means attention is the most valuable resource out there.  getting someone's attention is hard, keeping it is nearly impossible.

there are sooooooo very many things to occupy a person's attention these days -- movies, music, chatting, news, the web, researching your favorite hobbies, video games, taking pictures of your food.  (i'm kidding on that last one - https://instagram.com/p/5LmGkvk7jt/)

anyway, that's the world we live in.  so, for books to stand a chance, not only are you battling the absolute deluge of words pouring out of every aspiring author's finger tips, you're fighting against world of warcraft too.  this is especially true in our chosen genre.

kevin kelly is my favorite to listen to on the attention economy (this is really good, but dense: http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/5.09/newrules_pr.html), but this wired article is a pretty good starter piece:  http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/5.12/es_attention_pr.html

all of this adds up to what i was talking in the other thread about writers with a lowercase 'w'.  these are the adjustments you need to make to your writing to be successful.  these are the compromises that pull you from your capital 'W' tendencies.

tho!  keep in mind, i'm a noob and not published yet and all that, so there's that.


p.s.  oh yeah.  i said i was not published -- yet.

July 31, 2015, 02:41:44 PM
Re: Avoiding writing, or: How many words didn't you write today?
We're not writing because we're in IKEA  8)

wow!  that's so cool!  i love ikea!  i didn't know they even existed in those weird nordic countries!

p.s.  i'm tooootally kidding.  tho, not about my ikea love -- we have one in san diego too.

August 03, 2015, 02:38:10 PM
Re: Why I don't generally recommend self-publishing.
If you could publish an episode once a month for which 1,000 folks will spend $5, you've actually got something going. (I read this in a book recommended elsewhere on the Forum.)

that's the 1000 true fans thing from kevin kelly, originally about music.

also, i find the analogy from tebakutis with indie games interesting.  (this is where i shamelessly link to one near and dear to my heart: https://game.grigoristones.com)  i can't really put my finger on the difference between the two.  it feels like there's a bunch of possible stuff that enables fresh-out-of-the-gate indie games, but not indie novels. 

for example, a video game bakes down into more tangible artifacts -- screenshots, gameplay videos, etc. -- that are easier to make a yes/no decision about.  they're much harder to make, so more rare. (more rare compared to books -- don't get me wrong, there's still a metric ass-load of indie games out there)  indie games also have a large penchant towards free for a full experience.  indie games can tickle the instant gratification bone by getting to the 'good parts' much faster.

so, yeah, like tebakutis, my day job is making video games, and that analogy is fascinating.

as to which side of the self-pub fence i sit on, it comes down to the advice i always give 'kids' trying to break into games. it is simply "make and ship something of quality because everything starts there".  it feels like there are many, many ways to ensure your writing is of high quality (like our badass writing groups) other than sending it to random agents and hoping they look at it and give you quality feedback.

it's not like you're going to get a high-quality critique from any of these super-busy agents, right?  the inference that 'you must send your work to an agent to get better' doesn't make sense to me.  sure, it can be looked at as a quality gate, but you're still on your own to get that quality up to par.

August 04, 2015, 11:02:52 PM