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Eighthours

How's the novel going?

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Quite a while back (probably a couple of years ago!) there was a thread in here that was intended to support all those rllmukers trying to write (and more importantly, finish) a novel. We were going to gee each other up and offer all sorts of encouragement, and keep everyone regularly updated as to our own progress.

Unfortunately, the silence after the initial burst of "Yes! I'm going to do this, and here's the self-imposed deadline!" was deafening.

So, I just wondered how everyone was doing with their magnificent octopus...

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I started one recently, spurred on by some positive comments I've recieved in Writers Corner. I've only got about 2000 words to show for two months but at least it's something I've been looking at every week. I've found the break I grant myself to whack together a story for the corner is just right to reignite my passion when I get back to it.

Not setting myself a deadline though. Reckon it's going to take me years.

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I finally finished mine a couple of months ago, and it turned out pretty damn well. Currently preparing to agent myself up.

You can do it, guys! Just use any time spent away from the writing as an opportunity to think through your story and make it stronger in your head. Then, when you've got to the point where you have about 60 pages to go, pick a weekend and just utterly blitz it. That's how I got to the end.

(I am having massive problems with the synopsis, incidentally. It's harder than writing the damn book!)

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I've got two unfinished novels sitting on my PC at home right now...

The first is a sci-fi story about an assassin and his involvement in the nature of the universe... yup. Am actually >< that close to finishing it but haven't done any for ages.

The second is a contempory tale of life as a druggy in a British city and how the actions taken by one can have massive ramifications on others.

Oh and I've got a third that is just 1000 or so words long on paper but has been floating round my head for an age about a vigilante who decides it is up to him to clean up the streets. (I still have thoughts about this one combining with the one above but not sure how exactly... maybe the old two stories. path crossing....)

Anyway, all that is beside the point that I've been writing on and off for about 15 years and still haven't finished a bloody book! *sighs* ho-hum. I will get one done one day.... if only for my own satisfaction.

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I didn't take part in the original thread but have a novel I've been writing on and off for a few years. Progress is always slow, and I'm lucky if I can get 400 words done a night ( which I often skip entirely ), I'm pleased with it and do feel it has worth but writing it has become a drag, plus I've become stuck on a bigger problem.

The crux of the book hinges on a man's relationship with his father, and how it caused him to supress something which resurfaces near the start of the novel. Problem is I'm sure that if this does get published one of my parents, or both, will read it and my father will be shocked about what he hears regarding him ( the main character is fairly obviously me, etc ). Our relationship has always been strained but I suppose I harbour hopes of a future reconcilliation, and writing about how I regard him in honesty, and as a dead character in the book ( otherwise you can see the twist a mile off ) may destroy those hopes once and for all.

So I find myself with something of a conundrum, and have been trying really hard to make a decision, I thought I could do it but now it actually comes to writing the words and realising some harsh truths I'm not sure I can.

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I wrote a sci-fi short story a few years back that I really liked, but couldn't think of how to expand at the time. I've now got a notebook with about 20 pages of stuff, odd bits of speech, and it was only mapping the first couple of chapters. Perhaps I really should try and get it done and see how it goes.

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Mine is currently at the frightfully overwhelming stage of being a 11 page short story, with 4313 words to testify to my self proclaimed averageness.

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I write in Word (for the easy access to Word Count as much as anything, though I suppose I really should stop checking that so obsessively :)). I'm still a long way from finishing either of the two novels I'm working on, and work is very sporadic; I'll write about 2000 words in a sitting, but only do so once every couple of months... :S

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What software are you lot using to write your novels?

Bloody hell. I was musing over asking the exact same question recently.

Word seems a bit unwieldy to me, but maybe it's advantageous thanks to its near ubiquity.

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My steampunk pirate opus is going very slowly. Every time I can actually be bothered to do some, I bring it up, read it through, think either "ooh that's quite good actually" or "ugh what was I thinking" depending on what mood I'm in, idly churn out a few paragraphs and then get bored. I've got about 5,000 words, which isn't that bad going since the average novel is supposed to be about 75,000 and the pirates haven't turned up yet (although I haven't strictly written it in order, I've jumped ahead to write bits that I suddenly got great ideas for). I'm usually far too economical with words, so I guess it's a good sign that the ideas are flowing. I think about it loads, I have bits and pieces intricately planned out here and there. The characters are maybe a bit thin so far but the depth of theme is pretty good (ie, I have one).

I should be working on it now. This post is 158 words that could be in a novel, being put to some actual use instead of idle chatter.

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I was reading over the previous novel threads and one guy linked to the Snowflake method of getting a novel written - basically starting with a one sentence description and slowly building from there, turning it into a paragraph description, then a page, and so on.

Does anyone do something similar? I know Biglime advocates ignoring that and just writing away, but I find that very difficult. I usually don't enter Writers Corner very often because I have trouble getting anything down, and even when I do I struggle to reach 1000 words - that's why the last one was a single paragraph.

I have the basic story in my head in rough paragraph form so I'm thinking of using the Snowflake method for a bit and seeing how things go.

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When I write, I mean just write in what I'd consider a 'pure' form, I use WriteRoom. When using WriteRoom, I don't check or edit anything and hopefully just let something form. It rarely works but it's a nice exercise.

Well, it used to be a nice exercise. I gave up writing just over two years ago after concluding the only piece of writing I've ever been satisfied with. A very short story, little more than 1,700 words and very telling of my age, written when I started experimenting with language (often at the expense of clarity) but I actually think (with all due modesty) it's a cracking little thing.

Everything else which followed disappointed and I mean really fucking disappointed me. I know every writer goes through phases of quiet disgust in their own work but it started to depress me that I couldn't match the standards I though I was capable of. Eventually I just gave up and every attempt to start again, what little there have been, just faded away.

Pity really. I hope you folk ain't like me. I really miss writing.

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What software are you lot using to write your novels?

I use Scrivener. Probably the best writing tool I've used. Absolutely great for keeping things organised. It's Mac only though.

As for my novel, a fantasy book, I've only got about 10000 words in the bag after 3 months. Been slacking a bit recently, so should get back into it. Not to be a killjoy, but I think it's highly unlikely any of us would ever get the first novel we send out, published. Even it was the best thing since sliced bread. I think publishers/agents want to see commitment as well as talent. I reckon you'd probably need three or four good novels under your belt before anyone gives you a sniff. I think the ones who get their first novel published are the lucky ones.

And after that downer, :) I still hope it all goes well for you, Eighthours.

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Has anyone tried yWriter? It looks pretty good (millions of features that sound useful like character and location databases, a storyboard editor that lets you drag and drop scenes and chapters, daily target word counts..), and it's free... http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter4.html ... having installed it it does look rather complicated though.

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I use Darkroom after someone here linked me to something that recommended it. It might have been Steven Poole's blog. It's quite nice, but the lack of italics is grating. Also I like being able to hop out and check on Wikipedia to see if a character name is someone real's name as well. I'm always doing that.

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I have a nice idea for a story I've had kicking around for years, but I can't structure for shit. Fucking hell, I'm not entirely sure how paragraphs work ;) Still, I may flesh it out and use it as a vehicle to design characters.

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I'm sure I've read this on here, but a blinding bit of advice when writing is to stop mid sentence. I find it a million times easier to get straight back into it and find my train of thought.

Having said that, Christmas and the videogame explosion has scuppered my dystopian novels progress recently, but there's nothing like the depressing return to work and normality to get the old creative juices flowing.

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I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember. I enjoy the simple act of telling stories and always had. I told my teachers, my peers and my parents constantly that I would be a writer. I would always write at least twice the amount of anyone else in creative writing assignments and in high school spent my brakes writing stories. From the second year in high school I had the idea of one big epic tale which I worked on and reworked on for years, but placed it to the back burner some seven years later. Hundreds and hundreds of pages of unfinished stories by the time I was 19. I’m now 28 and still no closer to completing a novel sized story, of which I have many ideas. I still think of the old story amongst the others to this day and think about what aspects of that world could I tell, from what perspective.

University killed my will to write, but not my desire if that makes any sense, but I still keep coming up with story ideas. They don’t stop, and have never been a problem. Telling them always has though.

This year I have a plan, and inspired from a trip to New York last October, the desire to write has never been stronger. All I need now is Will. And a little skill (so feel free to criticise, constructively I may add, the work I publish on this site). So the plan is to write no less that 1000 words each day which could be on anything and for anything (including posts like this) and no less than 10,000 each week (which I organise into a kind of magazine like document for my eyes only, with different sections like reviews, short stories and work I put into larger projects). The goal is to be ready for the 2008 Nanowrimo contest in November. I’m only two weeks into the new regime so far and I haven’t been this geared to writing than I have for a long time.

So for the first time I’m not trying to or thinking of writing a novel. I consider myself in training to do so.

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Here's an interesting* question:

What size paper does a novel eventually get printed on? Or, to put it another way, when writing in Microsoft Word, what sort of paper size/page layout should we be writing on?

Also, what's a good font? Comic-sans doesn't seem to cut it these days in a professional capacity.

*This is not a guarantee.

PS I've written just over 1,000 words of a horror story today that hopefully might end up being proper book size, that is why I'm asking.

PPS How are you all doing with the books then? If there's a newer topic for general novelly stuff then I can't find it.

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Thanks guys. :) I am pretty damn excited about it.

Wow, Rudi. Wow! So it's in Gaelic? You'll have to link it even if so in order for me to buy a copy.

It's mostly in Gaelic, yeah. All the narrative is in Gaelic, but a good chunk of dialogue is in English. The audience for the book is entirely bilingual (there are no monoglot Gaels these days) and I wanted to keep realism as much as possible, and not have Sandhurst-educated Englishmen speaking Gaelic, for instance. It also let me play around a lot with mixing the two languages and making the dialogue as natural and slang-rich as I could. This is the best approach I could have taken for the novel, but it's going to make it a headache when it comes to translating it. I do plan to try to translate it into English, if only because the money is a lot better in English publishing, but it's undeniably going to lose something in translation.

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Congrats sir, sounds very promising!

My unfinished novel is waiting for a final chapter and epilogue... then the long slog back through it begins!

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