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Writing Novels

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I'm currently not writing two. One I know how it starts and ends but no idea how the middle goes, and the other I know about three quarters of the story arc, but not how it finishes up. I keep meaning to crack on with one or the other, but can't decide which :S

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Just start it, and don't read back over what you're doing. Work under the impression that it's all shite anyway (as in Hemingway's rule) and just keep plowing through, to get the story down. It's in the redrafting that you'll write your book.

That advice can't be repeated enough. It's so easy to stop after a few minutes, decide you've written shit and then scrap it. Especially if you're hugely critical of your own work.

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I wanna do this... I have a cracking idea, but I'm just about to start my teacher training so all my time is gonna be spent on that.

I'll list some details though.

Author: Squirtle

Provisional Title: Homeless Princess

Genre: Thriller/Supernatural/Fantasy

Timeline: ?

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We'll allow this one alone, since you are nice.

Ta!

Be prepared for the moment your script gets accepted by someone. Then you're redrafting to fit ten different people's opinion of what works. Then the guy you drafted to please gets sacked and replaced by someone who wants something else out of it. It's a nightmare. A fucking nightmare that's barely worth the development money.

Right here we go, you see that's a prime piece of bait. I have previous experience in film production, so this kind of tale is not new to me, I've seen it first hand; read the increasingly bland redrafts by increasingly detached writers as the original projects raison d'etre slowly sinks into market-orientated oblivion.

However, you've obviously written a script to a level of competence I'm trying to reach. Just getting real interest beyond a proud mother or stoned friend saying 'I think it's really good' is my aim. The fact that you've had 'acceptance' and I assume 'payment' for redrafts is what I want to hear about. Was this your first attempt at a screenplay? How long did you work on it before offering it to agencies?

If you feel a strange urge to answer, please feel free, and maybe somehwere else in the creative design forum so as to not clog your topic with dirty artistically decrepid screenplay banter.

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Again out curiosity BL, what is it you write for?

I understand you write for the CTF series, and i presume some other things but is the work constant?

Is there always something for you to be writing about which will get you paid annually?

I'm not meaning to delve into personal details about pay and the like, but I just can't work out what sortof project you'd be writing for which would keep you employed and paid for a long period of time... Does that make sense?

Hope it does ;)

I just have to keep my oar in writing for loads of things. Generally if there's a comedy show up here, I'll be writing for it. Then there's development money for ideas I come up with myself.

You have to be all over the place to make any kind of living.

This year I've been working on Burniston, a radio sketch show that I performed in as well, some Chewin The Fat stuff, a sketch show pilot for Channel 4, and thankfully my big thing this year (apart from a little CV spin-off being commissioned) was having my sitcom picked up by the BBC. It's been a good year, thankfully. Last year was the pits.

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Was this your first attempt at a screenplay? How long did you work on it before offering it to agencies?

I did a screenplay called "Bone Monkeys" about 6 years ago, and it was at the time I was working on a radio sketch show that was doing pretty well. This production company asked me if I had anything screenplay-wise, and Bone Monkeys was it. They optioned it right away, and then started the whole process of people coming, going, asking for changes, asking for old changes to be changed back, and finally, hilariously, the company going out of business and my script option being handled by the receivers of the company. I made good money out of it, but it was a horrible experience. The script was good, but it was butchered by Scottish Screen (our big film funding lot up here) before it got out of the blocks.

Sometimes people just click with your stuff - I've had two agents in total, and neither of them were any good. They did fuck all. They took cuts of work I found myself. Beyond that, nothing. What's more important is establishing a name for yourself, so that when your script lands on someone's desk, there's a flash of recognition. And a strong CV of past work. There's no substitute for that.

I'm lucky in that if I write something, a screenplay, sitcom script, whatever, there's always someone who'll read it. Just start establishing lots of contacts yourself - it's far more important than having an agent. Really.

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I wanna do this... I have a cracking idea, but I'm just about to start my teacher training so all my time is gonna be spent on that.

I'll list some details though.

Author: Squirtle

Provisional Title: Homeless Princess

Genre: Thriller/Supernatural/Fantasy

Timeline: ?

Squirtle, I just gave you a deadline.

No pressure.

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Writing a script to a game I want to make for my Uni project in 2 years time doesn't count does it? :P

I'm too busy at the moment anyway. :unsure:

I wrote (and shot, directed and edited) a short film, though the only dialogue was "Holy fucking shit!" and "Ow, me bollocks!" (with the first line being nicked from the Sopranos anyway), so I'm not sure that counts either :wacko:

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Hello! I haven't posted here much recently (too many forums, too little time), but I used to post in novel-y topics quite a lot.

I'm still editing my completed Nanowrimo novel at the moment. It's a 112k fantasy novel that I'm trying to edit down to 100k. About a quarter of the way through so far, though I've been a bit slower than I wanted to be.

I want to get more focused so that a) I can finish the editing and send the damn thing out and B) so I can start thinking about the next novel.

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I wrote (and shot, directed and edited) a short film, though the only dialogue was "Holy fucking shit!" and "Ow, me bollocks!" (with the first line being nicked from the Sopranos anyway), so I'm not sure that counts either  :)

Well I'm hoping that by the time I get round to making my game (3 games actually as I want to make a trilogy) my art will have progressed to being actually decent so I can make an entire backstory comic to one of main parts of the heroines life. Plus I could make some side characters that have their own little spin-off/alternate universe games.

Actually that'd be really nice, just having an entire Universe set up where most of the side characters have their own alternate universe game. I'd also like to make up a huge backstory as to why the bad guys in the game are doing what they are doing. Which I'd like to make suitably epic and span thousands of years or something. :P

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Writing a novel has been an ambition of mine for as long as I've been in school. I've always been trying, but it never gets beyond a few pages. The reason? I don't have any stories to tell. That's always been the biggest mystery to me: where writers draw their inspiration from. On a technical level, I'm not a bad writer. Not bad at all. I just need something to say.

I have great respect for anyone that actually gets one finished, published or not. It's a huge achievement to pen a world of your own making, so congratulations to everyone that's done it, and good luck to everyone that's trying. Hopefully I'll have a story of my own to tell someday.

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Just coming to the end of my second book (chapter 27 of 30/31). Every thing's sort of planned, just trying to squirrel away the time to get some serious writing time in. Aiming to buy an all day bus journey ticket tomorrow and just write away while I'm shuttling between Guildford and Camberley half a dozen times... Sounds extreme but that's the way I wrote the first book so want to see if I can avoid outside distractions that way...

I think you're my hero.

I tried to write a book several years ago, got to about 80,000 words and then just sort of froze. I've always been terrified ever since of going back to either that book or trying to write another.

Any suggestions?

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I think you're my hero.

I tried to write a book several years ago, got to about 80,000 words and then just sort of froze. I've always been terrified ever since of going back to either that book or trying to write another.

Any suggestions?

80k is long enough for a novel. How much do you reckon you had left to go?

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My problem boils down to massive self confidence issues, this much I know. In the in-between, I've also had a go at writing some screenplay stuff (which sits very well with me) including an hour-long TV pilot and a short film script. All this while working in the games industry.

I've found screenplay material easier to work with, but my problem to date is that I always reach a certain point after working on something for a while where my confidence just completely dries up. So my TV pilot thing (a script called "Techs" about life in a call center) has sat on a shelf for a year, and my short film script ("Bleed") likewise.

I can't ever seem to push onward to the next step, and it fucks me off no end.

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Writing a novel has been an ambition of mine for as long as I've been in school. I've always been trying, but it never gets beyond a few pages. The reason? I don't have any stories to tell. That's always been the biggest mystery to me: where writers draw their inspiration from. On a technical level, I'm not a bad writer. Not bad at all. I just need something to say.

Crispin, they're different as apples and pears, but have you ever thought about doing something for those Writers' Corner threads that appear in here every month? Obviously something in 500 words is no way comparable to completing a novel, but the process for finding an idea, a theme, a character is much the same. If anything, this is easier because you have a word to set you off.

You never know, there may be something spin off from it that can be developed into a longer work. Then again, there may not but, strange as it sounds, the process of coming up with ideas is like anything else: You get better with practise.

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Fuck it.

Author: Neuromancer

Title: The Funeral Years

1st draft deadline: Jan 1st 2006.

Sweet.

And get those scripts sent off somewhere.

Remember that the BBC read EVERYTHING, and I can give you some contact names if you think they're ready to go.

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Okay, I'm in, purely to see if I can maintain focus successfully. Christ knows I don't have any problems churning stuff out without looking back.

Author: RowMo (writing as Herbert Van Thal)

Title: Count the Scabs of Dracula

Deadline: Spring 2006

First two chapters by the end of the month, ideally. I have thirteen mapped out here.

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Crispin, they're different as apples and pears, but have you ever thought about doing something for those Writers' Corner threads that appear in here every month?  Obviously something in 500 words is no way comparable to completing a novel, but the process for finding an idea, a theme, a character is much the same.  If anything, this is easier because you have a word to set you off.

You never know, there may be something spin off from it that can be developed into a longer work.  Then again, there may not but, strange as it sounds, the process of coming up with ideas is like anything else:  You get better with practise.

I might just do that. Thanks for the encouragement.

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Good thread idea Limey

Ive been researching mine all summer, most of the story is in plan form on paper and about 6000 words in so far

Author: Uzion

Title: Fall of the Pharaohs

1st draft deadline: 1st Feb 2006

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Author: Eighthours

Title: Eighthours

Deadline: Mixture of first draft plus some second draft tidying up - October 2005

(I had the idea for the book before I chose my username by the way, it's not autobiographical or anything!)

For those that have some experience in this field, how would you recommend the whole agent hiring process? I'm rattling through the book at a fair old rate of knots now, and am thinking about the next step. The reactions I'm getting to my material are phenomenally good, and I'm wondering whether it's possible to get an agent who'll treat me "seriously" before I've got through the whole first draft.

Thoughts? Does the old "three chapters and a synopsis" spec letter to agents actually work? Is it the only way to do it? Is it essential that I "finish" the first draft before going to agents, or not?

Advice would be appreciated from those in the know. I've been thinking seriously about starting the ball rolling, so this thread comes at the right time for me!

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Writing a novel has been an ambition of mine for as long as I've been in school. I've always been trying, but it never gets beyond a few pages. The reason? I don't have any stories to tell. That's always been the biggest mystery to me: where writers draw their inspiration from. On a technical level, I'm not a bad writer. Not bad at all. I just need something to say.

Crispin, think about the type of book you'd love to read - a book that isn't on the shelf right now. Write that one.

And if you find you get stuck a few pages in every time, you could always try outlining in advance. Outlining doesn't work for everyone but I do it a) to ensure the idea has legs, and B) so that I never get stuck thinking 'what happens next?'

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Crispin, think about the type of book you'd love to read - a book that isn't on the shelf right now. Write that one.

And if you find you get stuck a few pages in every time, you could always try outlining in advance. Outlining doesn't work for everyone but I do it a) to ensure the idea has legs, and B) so that I never get stuck thinking 'what happens next?'

My way of outlining is to sketch out specific important scenes or events throughout the book, a kind of map with the towns on there but the roads missing, if you like. Then you know where you're trying to get to, but have carte blanche to go where you like in getting to it. That's what works for me personally.

I don't go beyond that kind of planning because I feel that it reins you in. Plenty will disagree though, but that's the way I like to write!

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