July 04, 2020, 04:05:47 AM

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Re: Do you start big or start small? I believe the main problem is that there is no right answer to this question. The most solid piece of advice I can offer your young friend is to try something different.

I was also a builder who would never get around to the story. But I thought it was impossible to write if I didn't know ALL the variables before I started. That was wrong. It didn't matter how much I knew about the world if I could not actually connect with its people on an individual level. And that's where stories happen.

Then I tried pantsing it completely. This didn't work either.

Now, I'm somewhere in between. I set up a premise, I build up some basic facts about the setting, and I start poking at the world with smaller stories. As I go, I am forced to develop the world. Sometimes it changes entirely.

To me, the basic truth is always that the story is the core of writing. If all you do is write up worlds, nations, cultures, then you're not a storyteller. You're a historian, geographer, perhaps a scientist or a philosopher. That's all good and well if you're creating something like a roleplaying game. But a story is something wholly separated from all that.

To the story, the setting is largely irrelevant. Try as we might, we are human, and we will never write anything but human stories. And I believe human stories happen the same wherever and whenever they take place. The setting may amplify or empower the story, but it does not drive it. Humanity does, with all that comes with it, darkness and light and the in between.

May 19, 2017, 10:55:42 AM
A Curated List of Writing Competitions I've found this list very useful. It is continuously updated and curated so you can feel fairly safe there are no scams on there.

It's from Almond Press (with whom I have no association, I just stumbled across it one day and have been checking it regularly for over a year).


May 19, 2017, 11:16:31 AM
Re: Writing and Solitude Solitude is not a problem for me, but sometimes loneliness is. They are two different things. When I feel lonely, I have learned to make the effort and reach out to some friends, even though it goes against my introvert instincts. I am quite sure we all need some social interaction from time to time to stay sane, even if some of us need considerably less of it.
May 30, 2017, 09:12:06 PM
Re: Say Hi, I'm new thread Hello. I haven't introduced myself because sometimes I prefer to get to know someone before saying hello.  :-\ (Introvert problems.)

I'm successfully aspiring to be a writer. I resaddled a few years back after doing a bit of everything (psychology, literature, factory work, etc.) After uprooting my old life (I was miserable), I decided that writing would be my new focus. Now I do some freelance work as a content editor and occasionally content writing, but whenever I can I work on my own material. I have way less money and I'm way happier!

June 02, 2017, 12:44:19 PM
Re: Where Are You? I'm half Norwegian by blood so maybe I can cover that base!  ;D
June 02, 2017, 02:10:12 PM
Re: Rejections and acceptance issues I think the important bits have been said, but I do want to underline that the most important characteristic of an aspiring novelist is grit. We get knocked down a lot and the only way to get to the finish line is to get back up. And because our craft is solitary, it can often feel like we have to do it on our own. So it's good to come in here and vent your feelings. You are not alone!

And the number of people who have knocked out a bestseller on their first try number exactly zero. Some have made it big a lot faster than others, but that's down to nothing other than luck. And if you rely on luck then you might as well be buying lottery tickets.

So keep up the hard work, that's what will get you there in the end!

As for your current project, it's always good to leave it resting every now and again. Put it aside for a month or two and work on something else, then come back with fresh eyes.

Oh, and if you want some honest, down-to-earth critique, I'm happy to look over the first chapter for you.

June 04, 2017, 12:13:50 PM
Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world The outcome the Tories hoped for and most expected was a stronger Tory party in Parliament. It was weakened instead. The Tory party will be in upheaval after this major failure and are desperate enough to seek the support of extremists to cling on to their majority, which is sure to put off their base even more.

And UKIP (far right tossers) lost their one MP and their party leader deleted his Twitter account.  8)

Progressives still have a tough fight ahead, but I think it's a good day for anyone who likes fluffy stuff like human rights and health care for people who aren't rich.

June 09, 2017, 10:08:08 PM
Re: UGH... self-promotion I'm in a really nice FB group run by BooksGoSocial, a collection of self-publishing indie writers who have learned all the tricks the hard way and have a lot to share. The group is related to their paid-for services, but anyone is welcome (I haven't bought any of their services, but I certainly will when I have a book to sell). I've learned a multitude of great things both from the people who run the group and the thousands of other writers in the group. There's a great "in-it-together" atmosphere. Link: BooksGoSocial Author's group.

I think the most important thing to know is that if you're going the way of self-published and doing the PR yourself you will have to work very hard. Your attitude can't be "I don't want to deal with social media I just want people to read my book," nor can your tactic be to spam your Amazon link in FB groups and on forums. It doesn't yield sales. There are plenty of ways to yield sales, but they all require you to engage, and yes, some of them require you to invest (you HAVE to have a good cover and you need to pay for a professional editor).

Anyway, go check out that group. You'll find a lot of help.

June 13, 2017, 03:27:35 PM
Re: UGH... self-promotion Yep. The biggest favour you can do yourself as an aspiring novelist is to acknowledge that 1: It's going to be a lot of hard work and 2: You need to fail a lot to succeed. A lot of people don't want to hear that. They want to dream. Dreaming is nice, but accomplishing something in the real word takes much more than an active imagination.

But honestly, if it was easy - what would be the f***ing point?

And yes, good content editing can make your book magnitudes better (I may be biased; I'm a content editor  :-X).

June 13, 2017, 07:05:53 PM
Re: UGH... self-promotion I don't like trying to appeal to the masses by being someone I'm not, either. So I don't. I go for a more personal connection, and I have accepted that I will be building slowly. For every personality, there is a successful way to approach online marketing. If you try to force it, I'm pretty sure you'll end up nowhere.

You should check out Amanda Palmer's The Art of Asking.

It started as a heartfelt TED-talk but she later wrote a book. Mind you, it's not some marketing course, more of a personal tale, but it can give you perspective on marketing. It helped me understand that there's more than one way to do things (also she's an amazing person).

June 13, 2017, 10:17:53 PM