Any novelists/aspiring novelists out there?


#1

I aspire to one day write a novel. But anytime I work on any aspect of it or even THINK about it, I get discouraged, thinking that it’s this daunting task.

Has anybody here written a book, or aspire to write one? Where did/will you start? Is it better to try and get short stories published first?


#2

I’m …aspiring. I’m a fan of the aspiration, but not the perspiration required to actually to write a novel. I have a few ideas floating around, but none of them really satisfying. One day…


#3

almost halfway done


#4

I’m going to be a screen writer. It allows more emphasis on ideas then how you write out sentences (although it requires you to conform to the industry standard of presentation).

Just take it one step at a time, and when in a bind seek out someone who knows more than you. We’re fortunate in that in this day and age you can find mentorship online and for free. Of course the person probably won’t work with your personally, but even just finding their advice in the form of a website is a huge help you could have never gotten in any other point in time.

There’s another interesting suggestion I’d like to share with you. It concerns learning about style from an author without ever actually meeting them. Apparently you should try to transcribe a persons works word for word. Doing so allows you to notice details on how they place words and construct sentences you may otherwise miss by merely reading.

I hope that helps some. If you need more help concerning writer’s block or what makes a good novel never forget your old friend google.

  • Jin

#5

I haven’t written any novels but I know a bit about the process. Most major publishers won’t accept unsolicited manuscripts so you’ll need to go through an agent. Getting a good agent can be pretty difficult. For some smaller presses, you can submit to them without having an agent. Also, when submitting your work, you don’t send the entire manuscript but a cover letter describing what it’s about, a little bit about yourself especially credentials that make you suitable for writing about it (eg. unique life experiences, any previous publications, etc). Along with the cover letter, you send an excerpt from your manuscript and hope that the editor will like it. It’s not an easy process and it helps to have previous publications, eg. in literary mags to build up your cred.

Anyway, the first step is to just write. Also, be aware of how marketable your work is. If you want to get a major publisher, there needs to be a market for it. Many smaller presses are more concerned with the literary quality of the work so marketability won’t be such an issue there. On the downside, you won’t have the same publicity machine that comes with major publishers so don’t expect to make any money out of it. Unless you’re one of those rare few, chances are you’re not going to make any money out of writing so it’s going to be a labour of love.

Edit: I plan to write a novel someday but I want to try and get some short stories and poems published in literary mags in the meanwhile.


#6

lol

if you can’t do this simply by reading, you need to learn how to read


#7

I love anyone who can dedicate their lives to writing a novel. I would like to be a novelist myself, but it would take me awhile, and I would probably be drawing a comic instead lol.


#8

Way to miss the point, Einstein. I guess that means anyone whose read a Stephen King or Chuck Palahniuk story can instantly emulate their style completely.

When you read a story you are caught up in the story, not in how it is being told (ideally anyways). Doing it the way I described is supposed to put more of the focus on what you should be seeing as an aspiring writer instead of just another reader. BTW, it isn’t even my theory, I only brought up it up because I thought it might help the OP. If it works for him then great, if not then he shouldn’t use it. Simple.


#9

Working on one now, I have a bunch of ideas for others too. There is one big one that I have that I do not think that I am good enough to pull off without being accused of ripping off another great story. I kind of write like Kevin Smith, lots of banter and conversation but it seems like most of the plot development is secondary. I am thinking that this is because I am trying to flesh out characters, I am just worried that I will never stop and get to the point. Either way, the entire experience is a journey.


#10

Well I’m not sure if that’s counts but I’m currently creating my own comic books then take the scenes from them and create my own independent animated film.


#11

Not sure if this will help but Stephen King has advised writers to look at the first draft as “Writing for yourself” and the revision as “Writing for the audience.” In other words just make sure your first draft makes sense to you, then work on making it coherent for the reader.

I’d also like to go ahead and suggest his book “Stephen King On Writing” as a helpful tool in developing as a writer. I mean I know a lot of people can’t stand the guy or his writing, but you can’t deny his success. Another book that’s often recommended is “The Elements of Style”, but that’s more for the bare bones of how to write.


#12

I have dabbled in my own papered television sitcoms. I am one of those people who is never satisfied with his work. So instead of enjoying it, it always irritated me to read it (even if I wrote it the day before).

But my interest have expanded over the years - and sadly, my time has limited. Journalism is my second major, but I would like to get into some form of sitcom writing eventually.

Alright…this has nothing to do with writing a novel. But I didn’t want to bump that “Do you write? Any writers here” thread on page 3 :stuck_out_tongue:


#13

i know what your point is

if you can’t recognize an author’s style simply by reading, then rote transcription will do little to help you learn it

the only way this idea is remotely useful is by attempting to get inside the author’s mind with regard to what content he/she is presenting and in what form he/she is presenting it and then trying to REPLICATE or MIMIC with your own content and own form

if you don’t read like this regularly, then you don’t know how to read properly (that is only paying attention to the plot)

content is only half of the story (lol)

edit: i also recommend king’s on writing

www.bartleby.com has good sources for improving style/grammar


#14

I loved The Dark Tower Series. I will look into those books. Thanks.


#15

Thanks much!

I also wouldn’t mine writing a script. I have this great idea (well, in my mind it sounds like a great idea :rofl:) for a movie, but I just never get around to writing out the script.

Good info. I suspected as much. I’ll have to stop procrastinating and actually write. :rofl: Thanks much!


#16

i am also an aspiring author, though i’m more focussed on short stories. i have about a million of them spreda over several different computers, but i would really like to write something large someday. right now, i’m mostly writing short stories to try and focus my style and skills.


#17

Ive written a few in my time. Mainly shorts, but i’ve also done two 700 pagers which no one has seen.

I had one short children’s story published while i was in secondary school, as part of a community drive to get inner-city kids doing something positive. It was called the Muramasa Blade, but its out of print now and the company went bust.

These days i write about random shit, covering a variety of subjects, and have a ton of work which i may think about letting lose one day.


#18

I will probably attempt a novel at some point, but I don’t have anything that would warrant it yet. I do have a novella in me that I will start soon, after I get some of my current projects out of the way.

I normally write short fiction (or fictionalized autobiography, if you will), but my labor at the moment is an ongoing essay recontextualizing comics as art.

[/shameless self-plug]


#19

Lots of writing topics popping up lately.

I’ve been working on something (seriously) for about 6 months now. I’ve written it in the past, the first 100 pages or so, about five or six times. Each time I got progressively better, and this last time (I started again on my birthday this year - Feb 3rd) I thought I was doing great.

Then I read over what I had (I got through the first 55 pages, writing single spaced 12 point TNR w/ 1/2" margins, so that’s actually about twice as many pages of a trade paperback) and realized… it was still shit. So I just started again over last night, but I’m going to keep some of what I previously wrote and stick it into the new beginning because I know it’ll work, I just have to cut the fat.

Disgruntled gave a few good tips on the publishing industry, but those aren’t necessarily true. It’s almost entirely pointless to try and get an agent before you submit your first manuscript. They won’t be able to really negotiate their 10% in an increase for you because you have no fanbase or selling power yet. But don’t even worry about the publishing process right now; if you’re writing to get published, you’re probably not going to get published. You have to write because you want to write and you’re genuinely interested in the story you have to tell. And most importantly, you have to write a book before it can get published; so don’t even toy with the notion of thinking about thinking about getting published, even though it will always be on the back of your mind. Worry about writing first, then after you have something concrete you can get a shit ton of books (that will actually help you) or read online info about getting published and the correct path to go down for submitting a manuscript.

Another thing I’ve learned about writing (through writing the same fucking thing over and over again) is if you can’t bring yourself to write your story, then you probably shouldn’t. If it’s not interesting to you to the point where you need to tell yourself to stop, then it probably won’t be interesting to the people you want to read it. You have to be really really into it, just like anything else.

It takes lots of practice and lots of hard work. You have to write every day, just like any other craft, unless you’re a gifted natural (which I don’t think anyone is in writing) then you have to practice every day and hone your tools. Write, leave it alone for a bit, and then read over what you wrote. You’ll see plenty of unnecessary adverbs and adjectives and even entire parts of your plot you can cut out because they’re just simply not that interesting or have no real purpose other than to take up space. Hell, the last time I started over in my story I actually combined two characters because one was just taking up room and making the story progress somewhat slowly and actually created more problems than he solved. So two characters became one.

You can pick up books on writing, attend writing seminars, take some courses in college, or join writing groups. Personally, I would suggest the last above all others. I’ve said it in other threads, and I really think writing is like any other artistic medium. Someone can teach you how to use paints and paintbrushes, and teach you the mechanics of depth, how the human body works, shading and perspective, but noone can teach you how to make a good, interesting painting. You have to do that part on your own. If you know how to write a sentence, then you can start writing. You can be told a thousand times over how to create interesting characters, interesting plots and locations and how to write dialogue. It’s ultimately up to you to give life to your characters and actually come up with the plot and other elements without biting off someone elses work or style.

That’s what I’ve learned in my experience as an unprofessional writer. It’s not easy and it takes a creative mind and dedication. If writing a great novel was so damned easy then people would be pumping out best sellers every few months, but that isn’t the case. If you really want to do it, you should start now. Every bit of practice, even if it’s a 5 page short story, will help you in the long run.

Oh, and as for the whole script thing - I’ve read that trying to get scripts accepted generally doesn’t happen. I think a lot of people try to write in script form because it is a lot easier, but you have even less knowledge about the film industry than you do about writing. It’s even harder to get “in” in that industry than it is to get a solid book published. Just write your story and if you have something good and marketable, it will get published eventually.

EDIT: I laugh at myself about the editing process. Even though this is only a message board post I find myself looking it over and correcting repetition and unclear thoughts.


#20

This is an awesome thread.

I’ve personally written some short stories and constantly scribble down ideas for a novel. Despite that they’re all fruitless endeavors on my part as I have no real intentions of trying to get them published. I more or less flesh them out to just get them out of my head and then file them away in the trash bin.