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2/19/14 1:45 P

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Thanks for the info!!

Katie
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2/14/14 3:11 P

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Katie, I used querytracker.net to find an agent. It's free but you have to sign up. You put in what you write and it tells you what agents rep that genre. I don't know if short stories need representation or if you're going with the longer novel.



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2/13/14 9:17 P

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Thanks!

Katie
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IUHRYTR's Photo IUHRYTR Posts: 15,989
2/13/14 11:27 A

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Check a library for the book as well as for writing magazines such as Writer's Digest. Don't forget that the cost of the book, if you buy it, is tax deductible (at least in U.S.), as is mileage to and from the bookstore or library. -- Lou

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2/13/14 10:50 A

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Are there any other resources (cheaper or free?) besides Writer's Market?

Katie
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IUHRYTR's Photo IUHRYTR Posts: 15,989
2/13/14 10:08 A

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One way of finding writing groups in an area is through www.meetup.com/ .

Others are to contact your library and bookstores, including any colleges or university ones, and ask about such groups.

You may need to attend several for a few meetings to find one(s) you're comfortable with. One guideline -- are group members actually published or just a fun, get-together, have coffee and talk about writing group? They both can be beneficial, just depends what type you feel is for you.

Keep writing and keep searching Writer's Market for places where you can submit your work. Wishing us all much success. emoticon

Lou

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2/13/14 10:00 A

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I'm writing here because I recently moved to a new state and am meeting people in writers groups. I was hesitant at first because I wasn't sure about the feedback thing, but it turns out, you can get GREAT, free, editing help if you go. Sometimes, people just like to say nice things, but you can tell when you're getting real constructive criticism or fluff. It's also a good experience to read your work aloud because if you flub a line, you might want to re-visit it for clarity or rhythm.

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2/12/14 4:53 P

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I'm new to admitting(to myself and others) that I'm a writer...I also always had the idea of a novel only. but right now I'm reading a collection of short stories, Unnatural Creatures compiled by Neil Gaiman and it's opened my eyes to the possibilities. If there's something that suddenly inspires your creativity, but you can't see making a whole story of it, play around. there are stories in there under 10 pages, and the one I'm about to start is about 45. It could be a page or two. If nothing else it helps you play around with ideas instead of just committing to one big story start to finish. and for those days that you are burned out on your novel, you can play around with other things to take a break and get the juices flowing again. I say get out of your comfort zone and give it a try! :) that's what I'm going to try to do also!

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11/4/13 11:27 A

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MPETERSON, my advice would be to read short stories and gleam what you can from them. It's hard to write a genre when you're not sure of the expectations. How many words are you talking? Plus, you know the arrive late, leave early part of a scene? You'll be arriving really, REALLY late and leaving almost as soon as you get there. Word economy!

As for regrets - Not writing down character descriptions or scene details from book 1 so I can have them readily available for Book 2. Argh!!!



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IUHRYTR's Photo IUHRYTR Posts: 15,989
11/2/13 8:52 P

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An intriguing and thought-provoking topic. I have one particular regret about an article I wrote years ago for Orlando Business Journal. The men I interviewed said they had done their graduate business studies at a local college's MBA program so I wrote that they received their MBA's from there. Turns out they had only studied there and had not graduated. Pretty embarrassing and taught me to ask appropriate, clarifying questions. -- Lou

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10/30/13 8:26 P

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"Regrets?" What are some of your regrets when writing a story? Please post so we may learn from you.


For me: using a main character with a long name. Too many keystrokes! LOL

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10/25/13 5:04 P

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I agree with all you wrote, Lydia, except for the part about being rich and famous as a prerequisite for being able to hire a proofreader. We can add editor to that as well. Although rates vary according to experience, there are editors available who charge reasonable rates, and who are writers themselves. I use the word "editor" as an all-encompassing term to include all the sub-categories some people like to break it into -- proofreader, copy editor, line editor, editor. To me, editing includes checking grammar, spelling, punctuation, consistency, character development, fact checking if needed, organization...

Thanks for the suggestions and for the idea of calling our blockages "creative block." emoticon -- Lou

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10/25/13 3:13 A

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Perhaps it should be called "creative block," because all creatives experience it. We just happen to be using pencil and paper (so to speak) instead of paint and canvas or music and instruments. Never do the grammar/spelling/punctuation stuff when doing the first draft. Just get it down. Remember that ANYBODY with a little knowledge can correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation, but very few can write. When you get rich and famous, you can hire a proofreader if need be. As for getting out of it, be sure your scope is narrow enough. Too much info is hard to squeeze into a tiny space. Likewise, be sure you have enough. It's hard to spread it out if you don't have anything to say. Rhythmic things--showers, bicycling, dancing--seem to help some people. Be sure you have eaten--many forget--but don't snack. Hydrate often with water; booze just makes it all worse. Be sure to get enough sleep.

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6/16/13 4:30 P

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Hello, In addressing writer's block..It helps me to set an egg timer for 30 min and just put the pen to the paper and write without stopping. It doesn't matter what I write, it could just be " I don't know what I am writing about but I am not going to stop until . hey I remember there was a dream I had last night and..." You get the picture. I also don't worry about proper English when I am writing this way. Just a thought.:)

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6/14/13 9:13 P

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Thanks IUHRYTR,

I guess I just needed some ideas on how to get the creative juices flowing, I can envision myself writing a novel...but limiting it down to a short story sounds so hard.


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IUHRYTR's Photo IUHRYTR Posts: 15,989
6/14/13 3:28 P

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Are you using Writer's Market to research these publications? Have you asked them for their writer's guidelines? Have you reviewed an issue or two to see what topics have been covered, the length, tone, etc.? All of these steps are important to do before submitting a story and not being sure it meets a publication's requirements. Good luck. -- Lou

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6/13/13 11:05 P

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Does anybody have any advice on writing short stories? I would like to send out as many stories to be submitted into literary magazines, but I'm having trouble When magazines tell me to simply "submit my best work" instead of giving me a topic.

The problem is I don't necessarily like short stories, I am much more of a novelist, but in order to get more exposure and a better well-rounded resume I would like to expand on my short story skills.

Edited by: MPETERSON2311 at: 6/13/2013 (23:06)

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2/13/13 9:18 A

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I'm much more of a pound out that first draft then go back and fix it type person. It definitely helps my creative process if I don't have to worry about scene details when I've got words flowing.



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NEWLYFAERIED's Photo NEWLYFAERIED Posts: 29
2/12/13 11:03 A

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Much obliged, ABBYSHARPE!

I'm definitely the "type" to write, and expect a fabulous gourmet creative piece near the end of half an hour---or two hours, or even a day. If I don't, then I'll always think "there' something the matter with me!" I'll try to 'reprogram' my thoughts, so I can write crap at first--and then chip in to find the non crappy stuff hidden underneath! emoticon

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2/12/13 8:54 A

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And NewlyFaeried, I am giving you permission to write crap. It doesn't have to be perfect the minute it leaves your fingers.

I had trouble with the opening scene of my new romance novel. It was in the heroine's point of view and wasn't going well. I switched it to the hero's POV and it flowed much better.



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NEWLYFAERIED's Photo NEWLYFAERIED Posts: 29
2/10/13 10:06 P

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Thanks, KatC!

I was just reading a book about writing by a guy named Carver, and he basically said that writing is a thankless journey (much like weighloss, I guess), but the results can be pretty great.... :)

Ah, well. We'll be different people by the end of our journeys, writer's block or no writer's block, won't we? :)

Edited by: NEWLYFAERIED at: 2/10/2013 (22:07)
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2/10/13 1:25 A

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I was just dealing with this today. I find that clearing my head and doing something else for a while helps, like cleaning or reading. Also talking the plot through with someone helps. And sometimes focusing on another part of the story helps too. I mostly run into this with new ideas so ill just focus on names and scene ideas for the parts of the plot I do know. When this happens in the middle of project, it helps if it I sit it down for a couple of days and work on something else, in addition to the other stuff I mentioned.

Hope that helps!

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NEWLYFAERIED's Photo NEWLYFAERIED Posts: 29
2/10/13 1:02 A

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Uh, hi! emoticon

Glad to know that there is an actual writer's support group... So, uh, I'm a newbie who wishes to greet you all....

I have had a righting.... righter... writer's block, lately

Why does it seem like that the more you know, the more you have to go? Taking an English degree seems all well and good; but does it give good authority to write? All the books/courses/tutors I've had tell me: write, write, then write again. But what happens when I hit the block? When words freeze in my throat faster than rain falling in negative fifty degrees weather, how do I find words for my work?

How do you deal with it, any ideas??

Edited by: NEWLYFAERIED at: 2/10/2013 (01:06)
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1/28/13 9:13 A

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I agree - write what you want and think about it in the rewrites. :)



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1/27/13 3:31 P

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Don't think! Do whatever comes naturally for your story, but going from 3rd limit to 3rd omniscient isn't a big deal. I see it in books all the time and I do it myself as well. Going from 1st to 3rd is when things get tricky, but everything has been successfully done, so whatever you're doing, just go for it.

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ANDY_54's Photo ANDY_54 Posts: 1,103
1/27/13 8:06 A

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Shifting narrative pov's--does anyone do this? An example being: going from third person to omniscient. I find I'm doing this with my current project, and am not sure it's the 'correct' thing to do. Maybe I need to revise...

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1/23/13 2:53 P

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If you don't know much about the business of publishing, your best bet is probably to search for an agent.

That process generally begins with a Query Letter in which you basically pitch your book in 2-3 paragraphs. If they like your pitch, they will request additional matierals - a synopsis, first 2-3 chapters, or a full manuscript, for example.

After that, if they think they can sell your book, the agent will extend an offer of representation, which doesn't necessarily mean you'll be published. What that means is that they will try and sell your book to publishers.

It is generally acceptable to query multiple agents at one time. Of course, you should write an individual letter/email to each. Batch emails or BCC: emails are a no-no.

There are hundreds of sites on the Internet to help you write a better query letter. Just search on "Novel query letter" and you'll have more examples than you will know what to do with.

If you don't want to go the agent route, you've got your work cut out for you. I suggest if you're not going to try for an agent, you will probably want to seek out some workshops on publishing so you know what to expect.

--Myrea

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1/23/13 2:12 P

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Writer's Digest paper magazine and on their website lists agents and editors. Plus other useful information.

Butterfly42D
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1/10/13 9:30 A

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You should also decide HOW you're going to publish. Aiming for the Big Six or small press or self-publish? Do you want an agent?

I used querytracker.net to research agents.

And I would highly recommend joining a writing group! They have people from just starting out to multipublished authors. I've also found that most enjoy sharing their knowledge - they were new, too, once!

Good luck!



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1/10/13 12:25 A

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AgentQuery.com and QueryTracker.com are also good resources for finding agents.

And Twitter is a good place to get to know other writers. AbsoluteWrite.com is a huge writing forum that's full of information and resources as well.

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IUHRYTR's Photo IUHRYTR Posts: 15,989
1/10/13 12:14 A

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Check Writer's Market for publishers and their guidelines, also books on agents. Writer's Digest and the Writer magazines are also good sources.

As for getting your name out there, begin building a social platform -- Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. -- and begin posting and joining LI groups.

If you're asking about getting bylines, there are numerous ways to do that -- Letters to the Editor of newspapers (you can get these on the Internet), newsletters published by groups, associations, neighborhood associations, magazines, etc. -- be creative when looking at anything published and see if they would accept an article, personality profile or other pieces from you.

Regarding unsolicited manuscripts, publishers do not ask for them so they have no need to know you; that's not how some work. Read their guidelines for submission requirements. -- Lou

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1/10/13 12:02 A

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I have a question... a big one! How in the world do I begin the process of searching for editors and publishers??? I am new at this, and I'm not very computer savvy or anything. Do I burn the book to a disc or send it in an email? I have the 2012 Christian Writers' Market guide, so I can at least research who's looking for what, but I don't know some of the lingo. I have recently learned, however, the "No UMSS" means no unsolicited manuscripts. Well if they don't know me, how would they ask for it anyway??? How do I get my name out there as a newbee??

Edited by: TIGERLILLEE at: 1/10/2013 (00:02)
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12/28/12 8:03 P

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I outline, even if it is a short story, I like to work within some sort of structure. I also find that outlining helps me to identify the 'holes' in the story.

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12/27/12 10:52 A

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I like the idea of putting my work on the readability test through counting syllables I can get a closer idea of what market my writing will work for. Also I use plot outlines.

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11/8/12 11:55 P

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I wonder how it scores. I got a seventh grade reading level with the lowest subscore being a 5.5. I guess that's a good thing. It means our work is easy to understand and thus more appealing to a wider audience. ^_^

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11/8/12 1:09 P

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Have you ever put your work through a readability score?

I was looking for word counts and readability on Middle Grade books, and on a whim, I put a chapter of my Urban Fantasy novel into test site.

On the lowest metric, it came up at grade level 3.1. The aggregate of all the methods set it at 5.2.

I know I'm not writing Shakespeare, but really? A 3rd grade reading level? Ugh.

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10/18/12 9:14 A

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Ironically, I don't do outlines myself. But that could also be why my editor asked me to make sure I've tied up all the threads. :)



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7/18/12 11:25 P

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I agree with AbbySharpe about making an outline. There are tons of books out there that will give you the steps to write - develop your characters, decide on main plot points, create an outline of the events in the story, etc. If you do an outline then all you have to do is write to connect the plot points. You have less of a chance of writing yourself into a corner if you already know where the story is going. Also, don't forget to research whatever you're writing about. For instance, if your character wants to lose weight research different weight loss techniques and how they can fail or succeed. If you want to jump into the whole vampire/werewolf scene that's out there right now, research the lore and come up with how you want to develop the rules in your book world. Whatever your characters are dealing with or going through, research it so you fully understand it, even though fully explaining it in a book is usually not the best idea. If you understand it, you'll get the point across. Plus that research may well point you in the direction of the timeline of events in the novel!

I don't know if it will help you, but what helps me is to close my eyes and see the events of a novel in my mind like watching a movie. If it keeps my interest in movie form then it can keep the interest of a reader (reading events as they happen is usually more enjoyable then reading internal thoughts for pages on end). Once I see it in my head then I can imagine the story slowly progressing as I type it.

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7/18/12 10:43 P

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Have you thought about doing an outline? This works for some people. Maybe if you see it all laid out and organized it won't be so daunting.

But, really, just do it. The more you write, the less you'll have to finish it. :) Kinda like weight loss, right?



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7/18/12 5:06 P

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Break it down into smaller steps. Just do it chapter by chapter. If you think about writing your whole story at once, it is overwhelming. Focus on your opening scene, then your next one. Next thing you know it'll be finished. ^_^

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7/18/12 3:16 P

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Hello everyone!
My question is: does anyone else get overwhelmed by a story or the thought of writing a story? I have an idea for a novel/ book (?), and have dabbled in writing it a bit, but when I step back and look at the whole thing, I feel completely overwhelmed! Does that make sense? I think it will make a great story, and I *think* I can write it, but that doesn't help me from feeling like it might just be too big for me to tackle... can anyone else relate??

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7/13/12 7:49 P

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For all of us, good resources to use are Writer's Digest magazine and Writer's Market. Both offer advice on the publishing business and WM has thousands of listings of publishers and their guidelines. These and other resources are available at most any bookstore and at many libraries.

WM has an online version, but after using it for a year I became discouraged by the lack of feedback for sources during my searches, yet the publishers I sought were available in the hardback edition at the bookstore. After that experience I went back to the copy I could hold in my hands and take with me. Others may have had a more positive experience with the online version, but it didn't work for me. -- Lou

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7/13/12 4:05 P

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Thank you so much! This definitely gives me a generalize number to shoot for. If I can't get it near that I know I'm in trouble and if I way overshoot I'll know I'm probably being long-winded. Obviously there's heaps more to writing than word count, but I had no idea about a ballpark.
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7/13/12 2:30 P

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All this is good advice. With first novels you don't want them to be too long. Agents don't generally reject based on word count alone, but they will if it's too far off the standard. 75,000 words for most genres is probably a pretty safe number to shoot for.

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7/13/12 9:45 A

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First of all, the ideal length of a novel depends entirely on your market. Publishers speak in words - not pages. Be sure if you're pitching you know the word count of your book.

Romance - Harlequin is going to be around 55000, historical romances are going to be around 75K-90K
Thrillers - 80K-90K
Fantasy/SF - 100K or so - even up to 150K or more

The best thing to do is to go to the library or books store, find a couple of recently published books in your genre and check the page count. Standard publishing tends to run about 250 words per page. Keep in mind that you should be looking at first/early books as much as possible. James Patterson or Danielle Steel can get away with things that a new writer would be foolish to try.

As for format, you can Google "Standard manuscript format" for details, but in short, it's 12 pt Courier font, double-spaced with 1" margins. That will end up with an average of about 250 words per page.

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7/13/12 9:23 A

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My first romance novel was 95,000 words. I wrote it when I didn't know what I was doing.

After getting feedback and learning the ropes, I cut it to 77K. Not because I thought it was a good length, but because that's where my edits look me.

One agent asked me to make it at least 90K. I tried, but came up with 88K. She rejected it, but based on a secondary plot she didn't like, not because of the length.

Submitted it to another agent at 88K and she signed me.

I *think* it's about 310 pages. Before word count functionality in word processing software, you could figure your word count by multiplying your page total by 250 words. It wasn't perfect, but it was better than counting every word!

I'm shooting for 80K with my next novel for the first draft and figure I'll be adding more on rewrites. Hope this helps!



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7/13/12 4:06 A

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I have a question for anyone who has written a novel - what is a good range for length? For instance, what's a good range for word count? Or what's a good setup (page size/margin size) for MS Word to get a good count for pages with an idea of a 200-300 page book? I'm trying to get an idea of length not to cut short or keep pushing the story but to know if I'm at a reasonable length of story.

FYI what I'm looking at is a fictional drama romance-style story.

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6/23/12 12:34 A

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Thanks, I'll have to check that out. emoticon

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6/14/12 1:53 P

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check out writersdigest.com--i haven't been on in a while, but they try to keep updated info regarding contests and such (they certainly do in the print mag--site should be even more accurate). Give it a whirl. Sorry not much help--just getting into writing again myself.

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5/31/12 12:55 P

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Hi everyone, I'm fairly new. My question is about poetry websites. Does anyone else write poems or like to enter contests for them? I used to enter at poetry.com, but the site does not work for me anymore and I can't figure out why. You search for my poems and none of them show up. I even tried contacting the site several times, no response, got a new ID too, nothing. Anyway, does anyone know of any other legit writing sites with contests I could possibly try?

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5/17/12 7:46 P

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Thanks everyone!
That's good to know about those stories. I might try to find some of them.
I used to read a lot of 2nd person present tense when I was a kid.

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"Show me a man with both feet planted firmly on the ground, and I'll show you a man who can't get his pants off."


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5/17/12 12:26 P

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I just remembered. Some of the strangest speculative fiction I've read is written in 2nd person present tense.

It's trippy, but in some contexts it works.

--Myrea

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5/17/12 11:51 A

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Excellent, Kat! Now keep it up.



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5/17/12 8:29 A

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Actually, I've heard a fair amount of SciFi in present tense - both first person and third. I say "heard" because most of my short SciFi comes from Escape Pod - but their stories are almost always published in print first and then purchased for audio.

Present tense is used a lot in YA fiction. Younger readers seem to respond to the immediateness of it.


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5/16/12 5:40 P

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Yeah I've never read anything in that tense either. I'm really drawn to the oddness of it.

I just had a great session ignoring all the doubts and everything. ^_^ I keep reminding myself that's what editing is for. And it's not like I'll have to start over from scratch even though I feel that way most times.

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"Show me a man with both feet planted firmly on the ground, and I'll show you a man who can't get his pants off."


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5/16/12 8:45 A

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So, third person present would be something like They go to the store and buy stuff...?

I don't think I've ever read that tense. But like I said, listen to your muse. Get the story done. Worry about this later. And yes, if you decide to change it, there Will Be Rewrites. But don't let that stop you NOW.

I want to say I've read Teresa Medeiros, but I read so much that they all blur together. :)



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5/16/12 2:55 A

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I write paranormal fantasy. My characters right now are all college-aged. It's actually 3rd person present! (I really can't do 1st person it's a disaster.) I did have someone look over the first part of the story and they said they thought it could work and felt really engaged in it. (Always good to hear. ^_^)

The "evil editor" is a perfect example of what I've been dealing with! It does feel good when I going good on a scene, but I had all this jabber in my head about it anyway.

I love romance novels by the way. I have a book autographed by Teresa Medeiros, she's one of my favorite writers.

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"Show me a man with both feet planted firmly on the ground, and I'll show you a man who can't get his pants off."


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5/15/12 9:12 A

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Yeah, my biggest question for you is what genre? I write romance, and readers expect the Point of View from both the hero and heroine, and villain if it's romantic suspense.

The most important thing to remember is it's YOUR voice and YOUR story and if your muse is telling you to make it first person present, then you make it first person present. Don't let your Evil Internal Editor tell you you're wrong. Shove him in a box and sit on it.



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5/14/12 3:32 P

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Well, welcome to the group! It can be a bit quiet sometimes (feel free to make some noise ;)) but everybody is very helpful.

My thoughts on POVs is that choose one and stick to it. Don't go back and forth between the POV in a story. Remember the flow of your story. Ask questions along the way like, "Does the constant going back and forth is really necessary? Does it halt my flow?" Also, ask your friend just to read it and ask him if it feels sluggish or confusing, etc.

Also, think of your audience, who do you want to read your work? If YA and JF, yeah, keep it in 1st POV. Working in a library, I can tell you that those age ranges relate to work written that way. And most books for those ages are written in 1st POV. There ARE adult fiction books written in 1st, so if you feel deep down in your heart that you want 1st POV, rock it.

Also, don't hibernate while writing, read what's out there. There are plenty of good authors whom you can tell are super comfortable in 1st POV. If you ever want any recommendations, let me know. There are also good technical books. And I am sure most people will recommend joining a writing group. Find one in your genre and attend.

Those are my thoughts. I hope they helped some.





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5/14/12 11:42 A

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Hey! New to the group. Scared to post, but here I go.
I decided to experiment with present tense. I always storyboard in present tense and do all my scene ideas that way too. I wrote the opening in present tense and was going to change back after that but I thought, why not, because it really seems to fit well with the story. Not to mention a lot when I'm writing, I slip into present tense and have to go back and fix it.

My problem is, now I'm having doubts. And it's part of a series and now I'm afraid that if I end up hating it, I'll be stuck with it for all the books that come after it. Also because I've gotten used to past tense, I find myself slipping into past tense when I shouldn't be and it's feeling a little awkward in a few parts, but tense may not be the issue there.

It's not a huge deal, I'm not published. But I've had to rework this series five times already with various other issues and I don't want to have to do it again because I picked the wrong tense.

Sorry to go on so long, I only have one writer friend and he says he's not familiar enough with present tense to really give me an opinion. I don't really know to do. Any opinions on the matter?

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4/25/12 10:47 A

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Thanks, MYREALANA! I've already been brainstorming and I know you're right. It occured to me yesterday, "Why would you want people to think of some other title when they see yours?"



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4/25/12 8:41 A

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I love that book. Just sayin'.



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4/23/12 2:59 P

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Similar or even same titles exist all over the place.

Remember "The Outsiders" by SE Hinton? Search Amazon Books for the word "Outsider"

You get easily half a dozen results in addition to Hinton's classic that are some variation of "The Outsider," "Outsiders" etc.

I would avoid being too close the title of a very well known work, or a novel in your same or similar genre. If you're writing romance, even it happens to have a very similar name to a classic science fiction book, you're probably fine.

--Myrea

"If you can't do something smart, do something right." --
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4/23/12 9:59 A

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That's what I thought! I think I just wanted to hear it from somebody. And I am not attached to anything I name it. I think my downfall was that I gave this concept a nickname 15 years ago and I constantly refer to it as that. So coming up with a title (in my mind) seems moot because I technically gave it one. Oh, brainstorm sessions, how I need you now!



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4/22/12 10:26 P

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In my most humble opinion, you can name the book whatever the heck you want. If you're going the traditional route, don't get too attached since it may be changed. If you're doing the self-pubbed route, I would probably make sure the name wasn't too similar to something recently published or one that's popular.

I think Nicholas Sparks has a book with "Letters to" or "Letters for" or something in the title.





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4/20/12 6:26 P

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Thanks Abbeysharpe for the info about the bio!

Let me ask then, is it legit to even have the same title as another book? For example, I had a patron come up to my neck of the woods and asked for "The Lake House" (he thought the movie was based off of it when it wasn't). We had the copy written by James Patterson (2005) and another by Nancy Famogari (2010).

I ask, because, a working title in my mind (but I am not set on it at all) is "Letters for Samantha". Just to research and find out there is a book with a smilar title "Letters to Samantha". I know it seems like a dumb question but is this okay?




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4/20/12 8:34 A

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I hate coming up with titles But it still needs to be done. My last two friends who sold books didn't have their titles changed. What to give us what you've thought of and a brief description? We'll see what we can come up with. :)

As for your bio, it's okay if you don't have any writing credits or anything else... you could pretty much say what you wrote for us (provided your story has a bit of humor, or else leave off the book nerd part), especially if there's art history in your story.




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4/19/12 9:32 P

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Okay y'all, I have a couple of questions:

1. I am trying to come up with a title for my query for my book. But I heard that (in the end) usually the title is chosen for you? And any tips on choosing a title? I thought this would be one of the easiest parts but...uhm...no.

2. For the query letter, I was able to ILL "formatting and submitting your manuscript" which has been super helpful. But for the part of the letter where you have to tell about yourself, the "good example" is like for somebody who has won writing contests and saved babies from burning buildings. ;) I'm just a book nerd who works at a library with a degree in art/art history and lived abroad. What should a newbie put down? It kept saying, "never put you are unexperienced!!!".

Gargantuan thanks in advance!





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4/4/12 10:20 A

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I'm analytical and methodical by nature. My BS is in Math and Economics. I'm a financial analyst by trade.

Free-form creativity makes my teeth hurt. I tried writing just from an idea without outlining first for the first NaNo book I did.

I got to 50K words, but produced nothing salvageable and by the end, I hated the whole thing. I didn't ever want to see that story again. It was just a jumble of unconnected scenes.

That doesn't mean that I can't be creative. I just have to structure it. I can do free-writing and stream of consciousness type work, but not every day and not for long periods at a stretch. When I get stuck, I will just start typing whatever's in my head until the right idea surfaces. Then, I stop and use it. I don't keep going after I've solved the current problem.

It works for me. Sometimes, I wish I could be like one of those people who can just start typing and end up with a novel. On the other hand, because I've got a detailed outline to work from, I never get to the middle of my book and say "I don't know how to get to the end from here."

I learned my particular method talking to CJ Box (Open Season, Force of Nature, etc) at a writers conference. I was lamenting that I didn't fee like a "real writer" because I couldn't just write off the cuff. He laughed and told me about his outline process - which is basically the one I use now. I figure if it's worked for him for 15 books, there's got to be something to it.

--Myrea

"If you can't do something smart, do something right." --
Shepherd Book


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4/4/12 7:45 A

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Thanks for the advise. I do think I need to try to not go back right away and get the idea on paper before I lose the story I had in my head to begin with. I've never used an outline before to direct how each chapter will go but I may try that. It may help to keep me on track as I go and give me a starting point on each chapter obviously making revisions if the store takes a different direction mid way.

"Life is to short to waste. Seize each moment as if that were the last."

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4/2/12 1:12 P

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There's no one technique that works for everyone. Some people in my critique group can write entire novels with nothing more than an idea of where they want it to go, and then revise on the fly, while still turning out new chapters.

I can't do that. I start with a basic outline, which I expand and expand until I have about 1 page per chapter, and I don't start writing until I've reached that point. But I do a lot of revising in that state. I do it all with pencil and paper in a very free-form manner. If I find something isn't working I can scrap scenes, chapters, or whole acts, or add or subtract characters easily.

Once that's done, I write straight through, with little in the way of revisions until I have a completed first draft.

I found with my first book that if I try and get critiques and revise as I go, I end up constantly questioning myself. I can't make forward progress if I'm worried about perfection.

I would say if you're finding that you spend too much time second-guessing yourself, try to push through. For me, it's easier to fix a bad page than to get the words down in the first place.

Besides, if you can push through, you get that "I wrote a book" feeling when you type in those two sweet little words: "The End." I find just reaching that point is a big motivator.

Edited by: MYREALANA at: 4/2/2012 (13:20)
--Myrea

"If you can't do something smart, do something right." --
Shepherd Book


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3/30/12 9:20 A

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Sabrina, this is a tough one. When I wrote my first novel, I plowed through it, then reread it, and started submitting to agents. Not surprising, I got impersonal rejections back from all of them (well, one had a handwritten note).

The next one I decided to edit as I go, but not for perfection - just to make sure my plot made sense. Halfway through I entered a contest that required a completed MS (even though only the beginning was judged) so I plowed through that one, too.

Now I'm on my third, and once I finish plowing through it, I'm going back to the second one to polish and fix things. I'm hoping I'll have enough distance from it that I won't be bogged down with what I originally had in mind. Know what I mean?



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3/26/12 1:57 P

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Hi all, I am new to the group and had a quick question for all of you. Do you edit as you go or write a first draft without rereading and edit later? I find that I tend to reword and rewrite the same paragraph over and over again until it flows exactly how I want it but this also means that it takes me 2 or more hours to simply write two pages. I will admit that I am a perfectionist but should this be something I do after I've written the bulk of the store or possibly after I've written a chapter? Any advise would be appreciated.

"Life is to short to waste. Seize each moment as if that were the last."

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3/22/12 6:47 A

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Be aware of using repetitive phrases; they turn readers off.

A book I recently finished used the phrase "hooded eyes" every time the author referenced her bad guy. The one I'm reading now has referred to an early 20s female as "young lady" probably 30 times and I'm only half-way through the story. Another recent one must have used "little" to describe everything from a "little lake" to a "little cabin" to a "little diner."

What is disappointing to me as a reader, writer and editor is the praise these authors heap on their editors when they should be aware of their own writing and should find an editor who will not allow such boring writing to occur. -- Lou


"Always believe in yourself!"

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3/1/12 12:27 A

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Judo23, I was wondering if you just wrote what seemed next logical scene as opposed to trying to force a scene to fit in a mold- allow a little flexibility for your characters. Hope you r way beyond this now. If still here, share how you broke through. Thanks.

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2/29/12 8:40 A

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I don't think I would do this writing thing if I couldn't use a computer. I do edits by hand, though, but writing the whole book that way? No, thank you. :)



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CAMYTANG's Photo CAMYTANG Posts: 380
2/26/12 8:56 P

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Wow I haven't written with a notebook and pen in a long time. I think once I finish this manuscript I will try it again. I used to enjoy writing that way when I was younger but stopped when I got my laptop.

I recently found out that Regency romance author Regina Scott still writes with pen and paper--all her books! It must work really well for her, and her books are so fun!

Edited by: CAMYTANG at: 2/26/2012 (20:57)
Romance with a kick of wasabi
www.camytang.com/


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MRSYAMI's Photo MRSYAMI Posts: 120
2/24/12 10:44 A

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For me, it depends. If I'm writing using my netbook - no way. I have to be alone. If I have one of my good ol' paper notebooks, then yes. I think it's because I have always carried a notebook since i was a child to put down my thoughts.



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CAMYTANG's Photo CAMYTANG Posts: 380
2/21/12 8:46 A

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I am, too! I applaud anyone who can write in front of other people. I try really hard by going to coffee shops to write with my friends but it's not as productive as when I'm at home by myself.

Romance with a kick of wasabi
www.camytang.com/


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ABBYSHARPE's Photo ABBYSHARPE SparkPoints: (5,151)
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2/20/12 9:28 P

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Oh, Spiral, I'm so bad at writing in front of other people! Even if I'm at a workshop and we're supposed to write something, I can never do it.



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SPIRALINGUP's Photo SPIRALINGUP Posts: 683
2/18/12 4:55 P

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I'm a member in a writer's group that meets every week. We create our work in the group and continue it at home. It's a great motivator. We give and take gentle critique and support. I've learned so much about my voice this way. I would encourage anyone to join/form a group.
I'm not too motivated when I don't attend.

I also don't force the writing. The better work has come to me and I write it down. Before I even begin a new project, I journal in the main characters voice for about 2 months. Hope these ideas are helpful.
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ABBYSHARPE's Photo ABBYSHARPE SparkPoints: (5,151)
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2/14/12 8:40 A

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Shagadelic, I write romance and only romance (at least, for now). So I haven't had to gauge different reactions. I've written a contemporary and a paranormal, but my critique group reacted the same to both (at least, in regards to my voice).



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CAMYTANG's Photo CAMYTANG Posts: 380
2/13/12 8:53 P

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Chikadee, most writers I know have a problem with motivation, but they just sit their butts in the chair and write. I usually try to trick myself--I'll write for only 10 minutes, and I set my timer. Usually I'll write for longer. If I have a problem like I don't want to fire up the computer, I'll grab a paper and pencil and just write with that instead. Anything to just get me STARTED. Once I start, it's usually easy to keep going.

Shagadelic, I started getting a better response from my writing once I found my own unique writer's voice. A good book I can recommend is Finding Your Writer's Voice by Thaisa Frank and Dorothy Wall. If you use the link on this page on my website to order it from Amazon, I get a small kickback since I belong to Amazon Associates: http://storysensei.blogspot.com/2005/07/bo
oks-on-writing.html

Romance with a kick of wasabi
www.camytang.com/


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SHAGADELIC's Photo SHAGADELIC Posts: 1,403
2/13/12 3:00 P

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I get very discouraged because I always hear how difficult it is to make it as a writer. My dream has always been to be a full-time novelist and in order for me to write, I have to believe that my dream will come true. I get fuel from knowing that people will read what I'm writing and love it.

This brings me to my question: Do you get different responses when you write different things or is the response generally the same no matter what you write?

"You sound like a damn fool when you say it wrong!"



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ABBYSHARPE's Photo ABBYSHARPE SparkPoints: (5,151)
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2/13/12 8:41 A

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To those who are stuck - I find that if I can't go further, it's because of one or two things. First, I don't have enough conflict. Internal or external doesn't matter. Something is lacking. Second, I took a wrong turn somewhere. My characters are doing something when they should be doing something else. Or the scene is in the wrong character's point of view. Or the wrong character discovered a clue.

I give you all permission to write a crappy first draft. Don't worry about getting it perfect - worry about getting it done. You can rewrite later.



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