Author Topic: The joy of writing stories  (Read 651 times)

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Offline Tonje

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The joy of writing stories
« on: February 09, 2019, 09:26:16 AM »
In the Welcoming thread I shared the fact that I'm writing a story and @1 asked what it was about. Posts in the Welcoming thread quickly gets lost so I thought a separate thread would be better.

Now, my story is about a group of people on a journey during the Ice Age. It's written in English as a way to practice and get better.
As of now the story starts where Kazakhstan is today and they travel west meeting different people.
A challenge writing a story like this is research. How could people back then solve their problems. What made one community thrive and another die out. [/size]What kept them from killing each other. Medicine/Healing. Religion. Leadership. Laws.

Offline 1

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Re: The joy of writing stories
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2019, 12:39:42 PM »
@Tonje
You were right to move this conversation here. Writing can be so personal thing, that people don't want to share any details. Thats why i ad those rude and nosy earlier.
Research part can be interesting, but sometimes its change to huge mountain, you start desperately think: i get too big chunk and never going to finish this.   
Is your interest to Ice Age more specific or is it just project for this story, and then you pick something totally different next.

Offline CathyM

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Re: The joy of writing stories
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2019, 04:59:10 PM »
That sounds really interesting! It makes sense that someone who likes Banished would like figuring out a small society.

I'm using Banished as my reward to push myself through the sequel to my novel, Lifeline, which was published in 2017. Both books are scifi, about communities recovering from tech crash - same issue: what makes a community thrive; what kills them?  I love writing, but it's a fact that a long story gets bogged down and it's hard to push myself to do the daily 2-3 pages that I aim for... so since I've gotten re-hooked on Banished, I promise myself 45 min. of game for each 2-3 pages... it works!  :)

Offline Tonje

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Re: The joy of writing stories
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2019, 01:10:49 AM »
@1
I wanted a setting without modern knowledge. I played with the idea of having the people live in the Viking Age but decided on the Ice Age.
In the Welcome Thread, you said you also are writing a story. I'm curious to know what it's about.

@CathyM
Oh, you're already a published author. Congratulation! Feel free to add a link to where your book is for sale.

I like scifi (movies and tv series) but I haven't read any books in that genre... hm... is "Outlander" scifi?

I've been sitting on my story for 10-15 years. Last April (2018) I had a spur of the moment wish to just start writing my ideas. It was supposed to be a feel-good story without any special conflicts but as I wrote the story just kept moving in sometimes very surprising directions.

Next, I had to google to see if my dialog tags were correct. "Blah, blah, blah," she said. (with a comma)
As I searched I stumbled upon a blog post with tips about how to write better novels. It was strange - I was planning to go to my favorite bookstore and see if they had books about writing novels. Anyway, there were links to other blogs and I spent weeks just reading. And I understood that my feel-good story was pretty boring.

I learned about Character Traits and why it's important to really know the characters. So I started researching that and it was amazing. So many times as I've made Character Traits Sheets I've found reasons for new plots. I'm so grateful I learned this. It made my characters so much better.

And, it's not just a feel-good story anymore. It's conflict, uncertainty, and betrail. In fact (as of now) the story starts with conflict.
I say "as of now" because I've rewritten the beginning maybe 15 times already.

@CathyM is English your native language? 

Offline Gatherer

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Offline 1

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Re: The joy of writing stories
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2019, 05:55:38 AM »
Tonje
Quote
@1
I wanted a setting without modern knowledge. I played with the idea of having the people live in the Viking Age but decided on the Ice Age.
In the Welcome Thread, you said you also are writing a story. I'm curious to know what it's about.

I have not write anything in lately, but I try to write satirical and humoristic novels about society and life in general.
And some poetry.

@CathyM congratulations! Nice that you have succeed in your writing career.

Offline 1

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Re: The joy of writing stories
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2019, 02:26:47 AM »
@Tonje
Quote
I've been sitting on my story for 10-15 years.

I think thatís very common for writers to take that long.  People got so much others things in their life
like jobs and families.
Quote
I say "as of now" because I've rewritten the beginning maybe 15 times already
Do you ever use parts of your older writing projects and change them little to fit what you working on now. When you develop as writer, doesnít necessary mean that all your older works are bad. I mean older works that you never even plan to publish.

Offline Tonje

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Re: The joy of writing stories
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2019, 07:24:20 PM »
@Gatherer
Thank you for the link! http://www.foundershousepublishing.com/2017/03/lifeline-novel.html

@CathyM
I read the part of your book I could online in Barnes and Noble store. I don't have a pad but I want to buy your book as an E-Book. I've done that before... in a Norwegian E-Book store. Anyway, the books I've bought I was able to read on the computer. The files are epub or maybe it's pub...
I see several options for E-Books in B&N but I haven't had time to check them out.

About what I've read so far... The way you described the world around your character was so vivid. I was there! Now I want to read the rest. I don't want to say too much (hate to spoil anything for someone reading this post).

@1
Well, this is my first writing project so I don't have any leftovers ;)  BUT after I had written for a couple of months I knew that instead of "telling" some of the backstories, I wanted the story to start earlier. And it happened again and again. Now the story starts about 15-20 years before what was meant to be the main story.

It is weird how the characters sometimes surprise me. I often dream about the story and I write it down before I forget. I don't always understand what happens but nevertheless, I keep my notes. Also, as I've been writing some of the characters do something I never planned for and I'm just an observer.

Last summer I read about Denisova. They were an old race of primitive people living in Eastern Europe. Which means that 50.000 +/- years ago there were at least three races: The Denisova's, Neanderthals, and Humans. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denisova_Cave
After I started researching I knew I wanted to include Denisova's in my story but couldn't figure out how. I'm still working on that. As of now, there is a small Denisova child who survives (something) and is found by my characters. They "adopt" him. Later he seeks out to find out what happened to his people. He is the reason I wanted to start the story in Kazakhstan.

Now. I've also recently (last week) learned that humans living in Europe had brown eyes and pretty tanned skin up until 15.000 years ago. Which really screws up my initial idea of having groups of people (humans) with different looks. Like; blond, light skin, blue eyes - red hair, freckles, pale, green eyes - brown hair, tanned skin, brown eyes - Black hair, dark brown skin, black eyes... you got the idea. Hmm...


Any suggestions?

Offline 1

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Re: The joy of writing stories
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2019, 04:43:23 AM »
Tonje

This is hard subject what comes to keep historically right perspective, and what we "know" about those times often changes.

Neanderthals got light skin color populations (darker too) with red hair. All "european" and "asian" people got some Neanderthal in their genes. How much light skin color and red hair might come from Neanderthal and how much skin color start to change lighter in north bit by bit to absorb more d vitamin from sun light.
There are some views that people who lived and moved across europe different ice age periods where different populations with lighter skin and another darker skin color populations. I think there is some space to play with skin color thing.

But blue eyes is different thing. Genetic mutations for blue eyes has occur in later periods after Neanderthal and  Denisova people were gone.


Writer got right to take some leaps, when writing fictional storys.

Offline CathyM

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Re: The joy of writing stories
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2019, 01:23:05 PM »
Wow - Gatherer, you'r good at research. :-) I am not sure how to buy my book as an e-book, Tonje, but think it's available on Amazon that way (I'm sooo bad at any kind of marketing!)... thank for your compliments - it's always nice to hear that someone likes the story.

And, yes, I use bits and pieces of other stories, and certainly I try to re-use research I've done (especially after all that work!)... I haven't done a lot of "series" (I have ADD bad), but I have recently done 3 stories set in a quasi-magical place, and the publisher of Lifeline will be putting them out new along with some gathered pre-published stories this year, he tells me... that would be cool!

Yes, it takes a long time to write, and I have often dropped a story or novel because it was "stuck" and picked up something else (ADD?) and then gone back months or years later. One book of inspiration that I recommend is called "Walking On Alligators"  ;D It's just a daily page of quotes from famous writers (about how hard & rewarding it is to write) and some affirmations about sticking to it. When I can't get started in the morning, I pick a page at random for inspiration.  :)

Yes, characters can be very willful - many of mine refuse to "behave" and surprise me often with their actions and thoughts! It sounds odd to non-writers, but writers understand that. The good thing about writing about a very foreign culture is that you can get away with "stretching it" - only a few experts would be able to catch you.  ;) As long as it's plausible to your story. Good luck, and don't give up!

Offline Gatherer

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Re: The joy of writing stories
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2019, 12:06:58 PM »
I am not sure how to buy my book as an e-book, Tonje, but think it's available on Amazon that way (I'm sooo bad at any kind of marketing!).


E-book version at Rakuten Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/lifeline-a-novel
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Offline Glenn

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Re: The joy of writing stories
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2019, 01:38:38 PM »
Yes writing can be very addictive , just like a game like Banished or Cities Skyline and for me the addiction is in the detail.

I have been working on a series for many years now and it never seems to end.

My daughter wants me to try and have them published or self-publish them myself, but my problem is that I am never quite satisfied with what I have done.

I always want to make the story more interesting, more emotional.

I revise, polish, and expand the narrative to improve the story and try and make it better in all ways, but having started on the fourth book in the series constant revision has become a bit of a trap.

Each book is around 500 pages long.

Not that I mind as thoughts and new ideas pop into my mind all the time.

This is the way that I write, first the bare bones and direction of the narrative, followed by spellcheck, detail and expansion  -- many drafts later I get close to what I am trying to accomplish.

For me this is the best way to write, the narrative flows from my mind, and if I stop for all the extra bits and pieces of the story then a thought can be gone forever.

I wish you all the best with your story

Glenn


Offline CathyM

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Re: The joy of writing stories
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2019, 06:10:54 PM »
I know, Glenn - stories just want to keep going, and no, we're never done. But just think about someone being able to enjoy your work as you keep working on it. I think self-publishing is definitely gaining steam, and I don't know where you live, but the Pacific NW has a group that support each other in self-publishing... I've read some of their work - really good! I'll try to find the name of the group... My publisher is a small publisher of scifi, and I don't know what you're writing but there are more small regional publishers and they are very approachable. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good! ;)

When I'm working on a book, I'm always looking for details to put into it - yesterday I swear I saw a shrink-wrapped helicopter on a flatbed truck rolling down the highway! I'm gonna try to figure out how to put that in.  ;D

And I also have to go over and over the mss. - I compare it to oil painting, where you block in the areas, then add a few details, then add shadows, and then finally highlights... unlike watercolor where you have basically one chance to get it right.  :-X

Offline Glenn

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Re: The joy of writing stories
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2019, 02:34:23 PM »
Thank you Cathy, unfortunately I live a long way away from you.

I recently moved to a town call Wagga Wagga in NSW Australia  and am about as far away from the Pacific north west coast of North America as a person can be.

To publish my best options would be in Sydney or Melbourne.

I have been having a break from writing for the past three months in preparation for the move and the unpack.

Now its time to get back to it.

I have decided to move forward with what I am currently writing, and when I tire of that I will revise what i have done and see if I can get a publisher interested.

From what I gather they are all very busy and extremely fussy over what works they choose to pick, and each publisher or literary agent has their own specialities.

I am working on a series that is a bit sci-fi, a bit romance, action and adventure.

It started out as one book and expanded from there when I realised it was impossible to tell the story with such word limit limitations.

The book is set in Australia but it has international connections with scenes in America, China and of course out there in the cosmos.

As for a publisher all I really want is for other people to enjoy the story as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

There are times when I review what I have written and I get all teary eyed and emotional, so if it make me feel that way having read it so many times perhaps other people will feel the same.

Once again thank you for your kind word words.

Offline CathyM

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Re: The joy of writing stories
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2019, 12:08:53 PM »
Good luck with the writing! I know that the marketing aspect is a whole 'nother kettle of fish - it's a different talent and I really hate that part! I had an agent once but I became so impatient with her not sending out my proposals, and also she charged for "supplies", so it wasn't just commission on sold pieces, that I just dropped her and have been self-marketing since. Not that I'm great at it, but there's far more resources now that there's an internet, and the ability to send electronically helps the cost of paper and postage!

I've actually heard of Wagga Wagga (love the name!) - Terry Pratchett mentioned it sideways in his book "The Last Continent".... I love his humor; I'm so sorry he's gone.

 

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