Amph The Writers' Guild

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Books and Comics' started by -RebelScum-, Jan 3, 2006.

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  1. Sanctimoniously Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 28, 2005
    star 5
    I've still been adding away to my sci-fi, adding more events to fit the theme and fine-tuning the characters.
  2. DarkPrince Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2005
    star 4
    Ok, I'm kinda new to this whole writing thing. I've been trying to work out plot details and characters ideas. I was wondering if anyone could help me out on how I should plan things out.
  3. Andalite-Bandit Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2005
    star 6
    Everyone has a different amount of planning they like to do.

    What I do, generally, is I first imagine some sort of basic plot concept or idea. I then begin to imagine the more important sequence of events that need to occur or that I want to occur, and from there I will write up some sort of an outline. Usually this is a few pages I type out in word just outlining the basic structure of the story. Then I'll write the first draft, and fill in the details.

    As far as Characters, something I've learned in writing class that I think was helpful was coming up with a character "spine." The spine is the thing that most defines who a character is, it is the thing they want most in life, and it is the thing that, consciously or not, most of their actions are based on. For example, I imagined the spine of my character in my feature script as being "To find acceptance," which is proper motivation for his actions throughout the script.
  4. 114 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 4, 2005
    star 1
    Ok, I'm kinda new to this whole writing thing. I've been trying to work out plot details and characters ideas. I was wondering if anyone could help me out on how I should plan things out.

    Well, if you're completely new, you should just write (and read) for a while. Soon you'll learn more and more about yourself as a writer, and what method is best for you, you follow?

    For example, I know that Stephen King writes mostly out of inspiration and the whim of the moment while at the laptop. He rarely plans his stories in advance. Oppositely, J.K. Rowling is meticulous in her outlinig and planning (which is why it took six years for her first book, TPS/TSS, to reach the bookshelves- as during those years, she also planned out the other six books).

    But for now, just write and find your way.

    EDIT: Now about me, I've been struggling with something recently too.

    I have this story I've been working on for the past two and a half years, with a mix of planning, notetaking, detailing, character development and writing (whether something planned or purely out of inspiration), and the manuscript now stands at just over 300 pages in size 12 TNR font (MS word- on my old laptop, it was past 400 pages in Appleworks, same settings).

    Anyway, I've been toying with my beginning for a while, constantly wondering things like which main char I should start with (Clement or Sophia? aargh, I can never decide!), should I begin on Earth or my fictional world that appears shortly after, etc... etc... etc...

    The problem is, if I begin the story in this fictional world of mine, I have to introduce the present region of that world as well as my character as well as a rather- er... "earth shattering" revelation about the setting around my main char (this one being Clement at the moment). That's... difficult. [face_worried]

    So... there's many different possibilities... I'll list them:

    a. Introduce Clement, introduce fictional world, introduce the setting "oddity"

    b. Introduce Clement, introduce fictional world, introduce the setting "oddity" as a hook, then flashback to Earth setting for strict character development

    c. Introduce Sophia, " ", " ", " "

    d. Introduce Sophia, " ", " ", " ", " "

    e. Introduce Clement and Sophia, (see "a", "c")

    f. Introduce Clement and Sophia, (see "b", "d")

    g. Introduce Clement on Earth, devote a chapter to him

    h. Introduce Sophia on Earth, devote a chapter to her

    i. Introduce both on Earth, devote one chapter to both

    j. Spectral creature detailing main chars' progress from Earth to fictional world (problem: the creature has a near-omniscient feel that can be confused with an omniscient viewpoint, and as of yet, I have no plans to use the creature again, but if I do use him this one time, it would probably be a point in the story later on)

    k. Third-person unlimited, and omniscient narrator... (not a fan of this approach)


    If I intro one main chair, I devote a large focus to him/her, then shift entirely in a new chapter to the other main char and have to request the reader's attention for an entirely new character development. This would logically mean I should introduce both main characters at once in the same setting, but then I sacrifice focus that could whereas be more devoted to both in two seperate chapters and settings.

    And if I go with introducing both main chars at once, I will most certainly not throw the fictional world into the mix with them immediately. However, if I go with introducing one first and employ the fictional world with its setting oddity concept, I make a better hook, not having my attention and focus spread out over too much (like Bilbo would say: butter over too much bread).


    />
  5. DarkPrince Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2005
    star 4
    Thanks for the suggestions guys. I have a couple things in mind for a sicence-fiction story. Should I plan things out in an outline with premise and characters an such?
  6. 114 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 4, 2005
    star 1
    Thanks for the suggestions guys. I have a couple things in mind for a sicence-fiction story. Should I plan things out in an outline with premise and characters an such?

    Well, have a general point A-point B imagined out, but for now, just write. :)

  7. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9

    I've only written fanfic before, but I usually just get an idea and run with it. If you've got a lot of it already planned, though, you should probably write down an outline or at least your ideas so that you don't forget.
  8. DarkPrince Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2005
    star 4
    Any other suggestions? Maybe some suggestions on character devlopment or plot structure? Or maybe links to sites that have some suggestion?
  9. Darth-Kevin-Thomas Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2002
    star 5
    One thing that i was told is that each character must have a reason for being in the scene/movie/sequence.

    When you have a scene, each person has an objective. Lets say that i have a scene where its me and my brother. We'll start simple. My main goal is to watch T.V. and eat my PB&J. My brothers main objectve is to eat my PB&J. All my dialoge and actions should reflect my objective. If some one talks to loud, i turn the T.V. up. If my brother reaches for my sammich, i pull away. On the other hand, you see My brother getting upset becuase he doesn't get a tasty sammich. So he will talk me into leaving the room to get some milk (playing off my goals) leaving my sammich for the taking. I hope that makes sense, it's kind of a lame example.

    As far as development goes. I write up some sort of back story on each character i write. I include how this person is realted to the main character if any, and what his invovlment is with the main characters goals.

    Plot on the other had is kind-of up to you. When you are writing just make sure that whatever you are telling us has to do with the story. Make sure it is character development to pushing story along. Don't be like Tarantino in Pulp Fiction where they have a five minute talk about foot massage when we clearly know there is going to be a wicked confrontation soon to come. Where as that dialoge is funny, It doesn't do a whole lot for pushing the initial scene and isn't stong story development.

    This is what I did for my senior script. It worked for this script but i wouldn't do it for all my stories. It gets you stated though.

    First you figure out what kind of story you want to write and find out what movie it's most like. In this case, my story was most like The Postman, a late 90's post nuke story. I wanted to write a post nuke story with those basic elements in it. Your story will go through tons and tons of re-writes so don't feel bad for using specific outlines, or sequences. Just make sure you make them your own. Add your own style to whatever you write.

    Follow that and that should give you a story with a few really good beats. Now, i started wanting to put aspects of other post nuke movies in my script. Mad max...etc Eventually, come 2nd draft, it was completly different than the original. 1st draft was a bit of a "rip-off" but 2nd was solid with my own ideas and own sequences.

    I have a book i'll recommend to you but i can't remember it off the top off my head so i'll find it tonight.

    dkt
  10. DarkPrince Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2005
    star 4
    What I was doing with my main character of the story was writing out a descrption of what he looks like, what occupation he has...etc. I don't think i'll be writing a descrption or something for the plot though, as you said I think it would work better if I just work with that through character development.

    Thanks for the tips. :)
  11. Darth-Kevin-Thomas Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2002
    star 5
    one of the things that i found easy to do is to make sure i have my main character all flushed out before i start writing. What type of personality does he have, how would he act in a stressful situation, is he funny or boring.

    Once you have that, most of the time you just take a step back and look at him in the contex of the situation. You know how it will pan out if you have strong characters because you know how they will react in a scene.

    dkt
  12. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Also, be sure to make sure your main character isn't a Mary Sue/Gary Stu. In other words, they can't be perfect, or the ideal hero with maybe some dark past. Make them have faults and doubts and hestitations. In other words, make them have regular human emotions.
  13. DarkPrince Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2005
    star 4
    Alrighty, just to give you guys an update.

    I've been working on the first chapter since last night and what I've done is, I've written down my ideas into story form with the characters...etc. I hope you guys can help me out with this. I really want to get into this and I think I really have an interesting idea. So, I'll set that account up and see what you guys think.

    EDIT: Better yet, I'll just post it here that way you guys can tear it apart. ;)
  14. DarthBobbalot Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2002
    star 5
    Hello, all. I have been wanting to write a book for a long while now, and only recently actually sat down to writing it, and have finished the prologue to it a little bit ago. Would this be the place to post it or get someone to critique it or is there another forum for actually posting your stories? I have the major plotlines figured out, but i always, ALWAYS, have a hard time just sitting down and actually writing. I always open up ms word and scroll to the end where i left off, and just feel empty, and not want to write. Anyway. Am i in the right place?
  15. Sanctimoniously Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 28, 2005
    star 5
    Yes, you're in the right place. :) Let's see it.
  16. DarthBobbalot Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2002
    star 5
    Post it all right here? Its like five pages... oh well. here goes. Should i post a detailed plot summary as well later on? I have to work for the next 9 hours so i wont be back to read any feedback or say anything else about it until then, but i will say one thing about it for now: I wrote this prologue in a rushed manner, not trying to delve deeply into anything too much because it is the backstory of my story, and i dont want to have much focus on it, i just want to lay down a few story plots that will be vital to the story later on. So that is why it may seem rushed. So here goes. And dammit, it unformated my indents lol.


    *********

    Prologue

    The night brought on a respite from the murkiness of the day, a cooling breeze flowing through the open mahogany windows to rustle papers on the cluttered desk in the middle of the room. Crickets chirped, providing a monotonous and relaxing music to drown out the worries of daily life. The stars were out in full, brighter than they had been in a long while, after a long month filled with hot monsoon rains. This day had seen the last of the rains for a brief moment in time, providing a glimmer of hope of things to come.
    The signs had been read. Fortune was smiling upon them today.
    Father Julius turned from the window with a heavy sigh and plopped down in the chair at his desk. Since the day the prophecies had been read and confirmed, his life had become much more complicated. Preparations had to be made in order to make sure everything proceeded carefully and flawlessly. He had sacrificed a lot in order to accommodate what the prophecies foretold.
    As his thoughts moved towards all of his present toils, he reminded himself that everything had happened the way he wanted and nothing he could do would improve anything. The night was late and the best thing he could do for himself right then would be to go to sleep and get a fitful rest for the next day. Time was drawing nearer. The prophecies would be fulfilled and then all his work will have paid off.
    Father Julius ascended from his chair and walked to the door of his study to head to his dormitory. As his hand grasped the handle, a hurried set of knocks rapped the door before him. He opened the door to a gasping monk with sweat beading on his forehead, probably gained from a dead sprint to the study.
    ?Father!? he shouted between breaths. ?Father Julius! It?s happening!? The monk had a worried look on his face, as if something was terribly troubling him. He looked into Father Julius? eyes pleadingly, hoping that he would know what to do and take over.
    Father Julius gaped at the monk and then offered incredulously, ?Now? It?s happening now?? At the rapid nodding of the monk?s head, he added, ?It?s too soon!? A concerned look came over his face as thoughts coalesced through his mind, but composure found a hold upon him again as he realized that he had to take control of the situation. He looked back down on the panting monk and laid his hand on his shoulder. ?Thank you for telling me. Everything will be fine. I will see to it personally. Go and get some rest now, everything will be fine.? With that, Father Julius closed the door to his study and rushed down the stairs past the monk.
    ?It?s too soon,? he muttered while taking the stairs as quickly as he could. ?This can?t be good for him.? His pace quickened. ?All this planning?? He rushed past a startled maid and paid no heed when she nearly fell over when he shouldered the load of laundry she was carrying. ?They better not mess this up.? He reached the end of the stairwell and walked speedily towards the room he was searching for. As he stood outside the door, he whispered, ?Light bless his soul this night,? and entered.
    The room was well lit with a large fire roaring in the corner. Three young women with apprehension written on their faces glanced at him and instantly curtsied with a deferential, ?Father.? Father Julius looked at them and nodded and put all attention to the main attraction of the room, the bed. A young woman lay there, sweat p
  17. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    It's fine to post excerpts here for critique, but remember that if it's something you're interested in publishing, you might lose copyrights or have it stolen. Hopefully nothing like that will happen; just something to keep in mind.
  18. Zonoma Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2005
    star 5
    In fact, if you hope to publish and want it critiqued first, you should find some where uber private to post it (friends only on LiveJournal is good). The thing is that first publishing rights are hard to defend if you posted on a public message board before submitting it to a publisher.
  19. DarthBobbalot Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2002
    star 5
    Well. If there were any doubt in my mind as to whether or not i will complete this, then i would by all means keep it entirely private. But since I know myself like I do, I am possitive that I will never fully complete this work. The plot and characters and twists i have planned are awesome, i believe, but i just suck at finishing things like this. I started a star wars story awhile back and got up to 13 pages at maximum. I. Suck. At. Writing. Long term-wise, anyway. Ive written a few short stories that pwned, otherwise i cant stay the course.
  20. DarthBobbalot Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2002
    star 5
    so does anyone have any thoughts/suggestions about it thus far? I showed it to a friend of mine who is a big literary buff and he says that the content is good, not great not poor, but the whole thing has been done before, and lacks originality. I agree with that part somewhat, but i then told him what i planned for the rest of the book and he said that what i have planned seems to be a really good idea.
  21. Valyn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 2, 2002
    star 8
    My only suggestion at this point would be to put spaces between each paragraph when posting it on a message board ;)


    Anyway, I was wondering if any of you have attempted to get published yet and if you can give me some advice...

    I've been working on my own novel series for the past 7 years and I've so far got two full length novels and I've started the third. I'm currently revising the first story in the series (thus, turning it into the fifth draft for that particular tale).


    With it being so difficult getting published through regular means (ie. appealing to a traditional publisher), I started looking into self-publishing.

    I was offered a contract by Publish America but turned them down because of things I read about them on Google. Authorhouse is also interested, but I read that they fall into the same boat as Publish America.

    I'm now looking at either Lulu.com or Bookpros.

    Anyone have anything good or bad to say about these two publishers?

    Bookpros has been really nice thus far, and they seem pretty realistic about how much this is going to cost (ie. expensive). So I appreciate the fact that they're at least honest and don't seem to be an author mill (a la Publish America).

    I've also been looking into getting an agent. This seems nearly as difficult as finding a publisher through traditional methods.

    Anyone got any advice or experience they'd like to share?


  22. Sanctimoniously Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 28, 2005
    star 5
  23. Darth_Bandalak Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2006
    star 1
    A new series of books I'm working on, features an arch-enemy type of character. I was wondering if I could get some feedback on his name.

    From what I have so far, he is suspected of murdering the protaganist's older brother, is a teacher at a private school that teaches how to defend yourself by means of Conjury (a form of Magic), and he is a very curious character that gets into trouble a lot however, by "persuading" others, gets out of trouble on nearly every occasion.

    What do you think of the name Dawson Van Alentine?
    The first name I used because of a longlost friend of mine that reminds me of the character mentioned above, and the classic last name "Valentine" changed a bit to become "Van Alentine".
    It just sounds nice... and it fits the character, I think.
  24. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    Firstly, check your books and see who your authors are thanking to get some editor names. Secondly, search for agent and publisher directories on the holonet. Collate a list on who to avoid, the traps and pitfalls.

    But none of that really matters. The most horrifically written books have gotten published regardless. It's who you know, not what you write, and don't anyone *yawn* tell me otherwise, I won't believe you.

    To be seriously honest, you'll either need to bum kiss someone or somehow insinuate yourself into a contact's friendship, who has internal publishing ties. There's really no other way to say that other than straight out, as that is how it is. This will involve attending conventions and doing something that will distance yourself from the generic faceless fan, yet without looking stalker or too pushy.

    Perused Ian Irivine's website yet? No? Bought some "how to publish" guides, yes? They'll explain why you don't want to self publish. Two Vader burps, really: the entire PR lies with you, you don't push your books to stores, they don't sell them. And why would they want to buy yours anyway? How is your tree-killer special? Your chatter box better be good. For they don't say it outright . . . powerful store names can affect whether your book will publish hard or soft cover, if they think they can sell better one way. The other burp, apart from seductive cost, is the image you'll accrue that you couldn't make it through the traditional channels.

    -------------------------------------

    In regards to getting private feedback . . . you could find it a waste of time. Be prepared for the sheep heads who will point out ship lasers are impossible, despite your book having nothing to do with our current primative Earth. You could also find people thinking of Thrawn if they see someone is too smart, again, why they'd think of one man 16yrs ago is anyone's guess.

    What I'm saying is, sometimes you need to trust your own voice, the one that whipsers that extra cake slice, not concern yourself with other opinions. For the challenge lies in seeing who really advises you for you, and not replies what they would have liked, and a temptuous sea that is to sail.
  25. Sanctimoniously Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 28, 2005
    star 5
    What...in the Sam Hill...is this thread...doing way down here?
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