1. ste20man
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    ste20man New Member

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    Four times.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ste20man, Jan 16, 2013.

    Hi.

    I am in the process of writing my first book and the creative side of it has been fast and loose.

    I went back to read over the first couple of chapters and saw immediately that they were not tight at all.

    I edited my first chapter 4 times until i had finally got to a point where I was happy.

    Is that a common thing? I read about different opinions on either side of the fence.

    Also, the way i lay out my writing is a bit strange. I'm not sure if it matters in the grand scale of things?

    The writing looks like this:

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    Me:
    "Under the bridge"

    Girl:
    "I heard it too"

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    Is there a set way you should structure the words on a page?

    Is there a problem with having conversations in that manner?

    I went that way with conversation to avoid the he said, she said thing. He exclaimed etc.

    Thanks for your ideas, Ste. :)
     
  2. 1570669
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    1570669 New Member

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    you don't really need to avoid he said, she said. You just need to limit yourself. I know where you're coming from. Overusing the he said, she said feels staggering to a point at which you actually want to abandon it. But what you're doing can also feel tiresome, and really it can severely interrupt any flow you want your readers to feel. A much better alternative in my eyes would be to hint at who's speaking without breaking the flow of the conversation.
    example:
    The track coach was there looking tirelessly at her notepad. "I just did 20 laps around that track, can we stop now?" I moaned. "What do you think this is a baseball practice?" she exclaimed. "Just because of that you're doing 20 more laps mister" She shouted.

    *notice* The interaction is very stop start and annoying to readers. It's better to let the actual sentences speak the emotion.

    better example:
    I walked up to the track coach in low spirit. "I just did 20 laps around that god awful track, can we stop now?" Her eyes were glued to the notepad "What do you think this is? A baseball practice?" She gave an awful smirk. "Just cause of that one you're doing 20 more laps around that god awful track."

    You don't feel like you're reading a 5th graders book anymore do you now? Reason being that the reader is typically smart enough to pick up hints that indicate what is going on in the story, as opposed to being babied with he said, she said.

    Hope that helps! best of luck on your novel!
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Grab a novel off your shelves. If you don't have one, get one from the library. If you don't have a library card, go to a bookstore and look at some novels. If you can't do that, go on Amazon.com and look at the preview pages of novels. You will see how your words will be formatted on the page. You will see how paragraphs are indented and how dialog is properly handled. The answers you're looking for are all there in the published books that are all around you.

    Check 'em out! It's amazing what you can learn just be looking at other books!
     
  4. swhibs123
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    swhibs123 Active Member

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    format your manuscript the way it would appear in a book. Otherwise you're going to have a lot of work to do when you're done. But some people use first drafts as outlines, and maybe that format would work for you if you're writing a detailed outline.
     
  5. ste20man
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    ste20man New Member

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    Thanks, I'll do that, thanks for the advice :)
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, publishers have guidelines for submitting manuscripts, and they do not always follow what you see on the printed page. You should use a standard serif font - Courier 12 pt is the most common - double spaced, no additional lines skipped between paragraphs, 1-inch margins all around, 1/2 inch indent to start new paragraphs. A new section within a chapter should be indicated by a single # sign centered on the line after the ending paragraph, and then the new section starting the line after that.

    Those are the general guidelines. Before submitting, though, check for specific guidelines based on your target.

    Good luck.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that!... ed's always on target... and do what minstrel said...
     
  8. blenderpie
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    blenderpie Member

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    I have seen books published with similar "non conformist" (if you will) grammar structure. However, they were never a debut novel. In my experience, at least, it was a fairly successful author who could get away with publishing something experimental. Or, I've seen books where there was an obvious reason that it would be formatted differently, like the narrator had some sort of mental condition that prevented them from telling the story in the traditional way.

    Structure changes don't bother myself as a reader so much, but I know plenty of people who wouldn't pick a book up if it looked like that unless it was a play or a novel written as a screen play (such as Monster by Walter Dean Myers).
     

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