1. MaryMO
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    MaryMO Member

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    Lost in my own story with no one to talk to.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by MaryMO, Nov 6, 2014.

    I'm trying to write my novel and I need a brainstorming partner. Someone who will understand what it is I'm trying to write about, someone I can trust. The two people at work are great, but they're mostly just readers. They've been reading every chapter I've completed so far.

    One is also a mother like me, she has two young girls both under the age of six. The other is going to college and is very busy as well with school. The first one is an avid reader of YA genres, the second loves to read erotica novellas.

    What I'm trying to do is walk that fine line between both. I guess you could say it's more PG. To me it's a great story, but I'm sure we all think the same when we have an idea we want to write about. Mine is about mythology and a bit biblical. Don't worry I've avoided using God, Jesus, the Almighty, Lord......etc. What I'm doing is twisting both together and linking then with my own mythological beings called Balance. Actually I used the Latin term for that, they are a whole new race of people living in a thin veil between the earth and sky. My characters are quadruplets born to this new race who are to become the rulers of the North, South, East, and West. Nothing like the four sisters of the winds. I will be writing a series of four separate novels based off of them. It will be filled with not only a love story, but also a lot of action. My main goal is to keep the readers interested and so engrossed with it that they won't be able to help, but continue to read.

    Here is my problem, I brainstorm by talking it out. When I hear myself, my mind wonders and ideas immediately start popping up in my head. But I need someone to talk to, my husband isn't any help because he's just not into reading. He says he'd rather watch then read books. Plus my grammar isn't that great either, but I'm trying not to worry about that too much.

    I'm 35 years old, my birthday is coming up next month and I really hope to get this novel published someday, hopefully sometime next year or the year after. I already have a blog, but I'm not planning on launching is yet until I know for sure that this idea will even be considered by a publishing company. If I time this right, I'll do it once I get the okay to present it. I've been researching the pros and cons of that as well.

    Grrrr......I feel so overwhelmed and I know I'm doing this to myself, but I can't help it. It has taken me over 3 years to finally start it up again. After, being rudely laughed at by someone when they read my first two page draft. Let's just say it was a family member. Either way, I am determined to so this. Even if it gets published or not, I'll have my blog to post it up for all to read. I hope it doesn't come to that though, I've always wanted to become a writer. It's my passion and I absolutely love doing it. If I could take classes, I would, but it's hard when you're working full time and have four little monkeys (what I call my children:)) your trying to raise at the same time.
     
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  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Ok, where to start.... :-D

    Firstly, I see you give your age and it clearly sounds like you're having anxiety about being "old" already and it's never going to happen. You are not old. You are young and if that picture in your avatar is you, you look terrific! Let go of your age as a worry. Tons of us here are older. I'm 44, and still a little boy at heart. ;)

    As to brainstorming, I'm a big fan of it, but not everyone is. This is one of those things that has camps with their set ideas about the concept. We have areas here for brainstorming, up at the top part of the forum, but brainstorming works best with others when we can help you tackle small things, blocks, concepts, and help you get the ideas out of your head, because in the end it's your story, no one can give you ideas, only help you find your own. When I help brainstorm, I never give statements, only ever questions because questions lead to other things and places, statements don't.

    It is overwhelming, and that's kind of a good thing because it means you are aware that it's not an easy thing. It won't just write itself and there isn't a person on the planet who just sat down and banged out a masterpiece in one sitting. I've got two large works in progress, one that's only a few years old, one that's over a decade old. They're not done. It's all a process. ;)

    Wrey
     
  3. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Who cares about grammar anymore?:whistle:
     
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  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    When I was 13, I was at a family gathering with lots of cousins, and my grandmother asked (ask grandmothers will do) what we all wanted to BE. I knew immediately I wanted to say, "writer", but an older cousin said it first, and I was suddenly afraid of appearing to mimic him. So, I said something else. But I was also afflicted with doubt - who was I to think I had anything of value to say to anyone else? It was actually a few years before I got any of that confidence back, and in the end, I did it to myself.

    So are you.

    If you want to brainstorm for ideas, improve your grammar, expand your vocabulary, improve your craft of writing, the best thing you can do is READ. Read a lot. Read all kinds of different stuff. Read it for the fun of reading, and then go back and read it again, find out what makes it tick. And if you can't figure that out, come on here and start a thread about it. You'll always find takers. When you find something that's kinda sorta like something you've written, lay them side by side and see what you need to do better.

    35? HAH!! I'm 61, and still aspiring. Forget your age. It's a number.

    And welcome to the forum.
     
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  5. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    Welcome to the Forums, first and foremost:

    A word of caution with brainstorming. Stories, and those sparks of ingenuity that drive them, are like a clockwork spring. The more you dream about them the tighter they wind, the excitement builds and energy compresses. When voiced aloud, some of that energy is lost. The more the idea is talked over, the more energy escapes. Excitement wanes and soon the idea withers to naught.

    Use brainstorming if you must, but try to keep ideas close, so as to maintain their intergrity. Over discussion and thought can strip even the best ideas of their novelty, making them tedious to work with. And as EdFromNY said, don't worry about age, it is all relative. Your idea does sound pretty awesome, by the way.

    - Darkkin, the Tedious
     
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  6. VioletScented
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    VioletScented Member

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    "Someone who will understand what it is I'm trying to write about, someone I can trust."
    This sounds so very familiar to me as it is exactly what I have been thinking for quite a long time. I need a sounding board I can rely on but like you I haven't found the right one in my everyday life (my wife isn't the reading type either). But hey, people pop up in your life when you least expect them to, right? (I would offer to be that person for you but I write more urban fantasy stuff for adults so I am not sure we would be a match.) I really hope you find someone to brainstorm with! I will keep looking for my sounding board/reader as well.
     
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  7. MaryMO
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    MaryMO Member

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    Thank you Darkkin, I do think it's pretty awesome too :).

    EdfromNY, I do read a lot! I listed a bunch of my favorite authors and their series I follow. When I was younger, I used to read R.L. Stine books. I had so much trouble putting them down that when I had chores, I'd tuck it under my arm while I did them. It drove my family nuts!:rofl:

    I even had a whole bunch of diaries, which I can't seem to find anymore since I move to Las Vegas, NV. I was born in a little island called Guam.
    Anyways, I wrote poems too, I had a notebook full of them. I have a few with me now, but nothing I ever thought to have published. In the end life got in the way for me, marriage, kids, and work. Now it's hard to imagine giving up trying to become a writer. I lost sleep over the idea and I couldn't seem to get the voices out of my head, along with the strong urge to write.
     
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  8. MaryMO
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    MaryMO Member

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    I've tried the whole graphs and planning it out. Characters, places, plots......etc. I couldn't get it to work for me. Although, I did find that as soon as I started typing, they're the ones that showed me what I needed to do. I understand what you're trying to say and maybe that's what I need. Write, write and just write it all out. All the ones that I've had to cut out I have saved. In fact my whole work it backed up in various places and drives. I'm too scared to lose it all, after working so hard on them. The only reason why I feel I need a brainstorming partner is so that I don't get tunnel vision. I know how my story will begin and end. It's the middle that I'm having trouble with.
     
  9. MaryMO
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    MaryMO Member

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    I read those too! I love anything to do with myth, vampires, werewolves, fairies, and adult books. All my kids have names after various pantheons. My husband and I spent hours researching book stores and the internet for the right ones during each of my pregnancies.

    I really hope to get a chance to read them if you're planning on getting it published. Hell, if you have a blog, I'll follow you to it.
     
  10. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    I'm not a planner. I let my characters run, and they have yet to lead me astray. By overplanning, outliniing and graphing, it's easy to write yourself into a corner or become frustrated with a project.

    I've been to RWA workshops and the vast majority of authors they've had tell you, just write. Get it down, get it out. Fix it once it's done. It is a foregone conclusion that first drafts are terrible. That is why it's a first draft and not the final product. It's getting the first draft done that should be the goal.
     
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  11. MaryMO
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    MaryMO Member

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    Okay, so I forced my husband to sit down and talk to me. I tried to explain my frustration to him and he suggested that I step away from writing my novel, just for a little while.
    What I want to know is anyone has ever experienced hearing your characters talking to you in your head? I mentioned this on my other post on "Stuck". Imagine them trapped in a jar and they're banging against the glass, trying to get out. They're yelling and talking all at the same time, but I can't seem to get them out or even understand what they're saying. I'm not crazy or am I?
     
  12. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    No, you're not crazy. But in re-reading your OP, it occurs to me that your problem may be the sheer scale of your project - mythical beings (race building), mythical setting (world building), four-novel series of publishable quality. That's massive. I don't think you need to step away from writing (in fact that's probably the worst thing you could do, emotionally), but you do need to step back for a moment and take stock.

    To begin with, first attempts at novels very rarely are of publishable quality, because writing is a long learning process. There's an old saying that a writer's first million words are practice. I used up 400,000 in my first attempt, but my next three were much more reasonable, and I learned something from each attempt. I have real hope that my current project will be the one that succeeds. A professional who has looked over my ms agrees.

    You should also know, if you're planning on going the traditional publishing route, that multi-volume series from first-time authors are nearly impossible to sell to publishers. Too much up front cost with no hint of the possibility of success. The best thing to do is to focus on one novel that can stand on its own, and if it succeeds, you can build on it. And if you can free yourself for the time being from the burden of trying to write a four-volume story, I think you'll be better off.

    I had a somewhat similar problem. I had long wanted to write a historical novel about a particular locale. Did a lot of research, but not enough. Then, real life intervened - house, career, kids (with issues). I knew I couldn't manage the historical at that point, but I needed to write to keep me sane. One day, two kids - Kate and Joe, high school seniors in the late 1930s - popped into my head. I started writing about them, figuring that they could be the last segment of my historical. That segment turned into the 400,000 word monster I mentioned earlier (I later edited it down to just over 140,000). You might want to try something like that - take a piece of your planned series and write it. Maybe one of the quads, or their parents - a sort of prequel to what you want to write. Get it down to a manageable size and I think you'll struggle less. Or, you might want to set that project aside altogether for now and work on another idea.

    Best of luck with it.
     
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  13. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm 67, and I still haven't got far into my million-word apprenticeship...

    As has been mentioned, a quadrology is an undertaking of awe-inspiring magnitude.

    I've just started a piece which takes some inspiration from "Game of Thrones"...in that it's a slice of British history (plenty of politics and internecine strife guaranteed!) translated into a different geography. It could be the first of a large series of books without trespassing on GoT's turf, or it could be a standalone novel...or it could be enough to prove to me that a more realistic aim is to make the 2020 Olympic team!!!

    Also, I don't know how far you've got, but...I signed up for NaNoWriMo this year, after all 1,667 words per day is a breeze? There are people talking about writing 25,000 words on the first Saturday and another 25,000 words on the Sunday, job done. Hang on, that's 50 wpm for 8 hours solid, no toilet breaks, no writer's block, how do they do that? 7 days in, and I've got about 3,000 words. At this rate, I need another 20 weeks, not another 20 days! And then, edit it to publishable quality. And then flog it around. Am I going to get it published this year, or next year? Good question!

    On another site, somebody wrote in saying he had money worries...his plan was to give up his day job and devote his life to writing in order to retire on his first multi-million dollar advance cheque...he just wanted help with what he should write!

    Keep writing, but don't put yourself under pressure to succeed, especially to succeed within a time-frame.

    Good Luck!
     
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  14. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    I've reached the closing chapters of The Traveller, which will be coming in at just under 200,000. Editing with probably take out another half of that. And while the stories in my projects do share connections, they are designed to stand alone. (Thank you historical romance addiction, you taught me how to do this..).

    However, because I have several projects running concurrent, they parallel a finite time frame allowing me to view my timelines in from several different perspectives. If I get snagged on a certain point, I flip projects and perspectives. Usually viewing it from a unique angle helps.

    Spider writing, is what some of my cohorts call it. It's not something that works for everyone, but I've found that it does allow me to give voice to the characters that are insisting on being written. It might not be the straight forward charge of most writers, but with my ADHD, it works well.

    Not sure if this will be much help.

    - Darkkin, the Tedious
     
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  15. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    Hi Mary. :)

    I too enjoy a bit of brainstorming, in fact, my process flies in the face of what Darkkin describes. I'm already wound like a spring, or maybe it would be truer to say, like an overblown tyre, so brainstorming is helpful to me because I need that release. Too much going on in my head at once rarely results in anything worthwhile on the page because I'm simply too close, and I can always benefit from throwing some ideas around, or getting an alternative take on them.

    Luckily, I found a great sounding board right here who is sympathetic, helpful and has the knack of asking just the right questions. (Totally agree with Wreybies on that. Brainstorming should not amount to spoon feeding.)

    And since everybody else is endeavouring to make you realise that age (or time spent) doesn't mean squat, I can tell you I'm a 47 year old grandmother who has only been writing for two years. I still have a long way to go before I have the skill to produce anything to my satisfaction but hey, there would be little satisfaction in the end if it was easy.

    And no, you are not crazy. My characters have full blown conversations with me all the time. ;)
     
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  16. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    People are as unique as diamonds and big toes, everyone has something that works for them. A lot of it is trial and error, finding out what process works for you. For me it's: Shut up and write. You think on this too much, you'll lose it.

    And conversations with one's characters can be much more entertaining and enlightening than those with some people. It's a writer's thing...:whistle:
     
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  17. MaryMO
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    MaryMO Member

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    I understand what you're all trying to say.
    Last night when I went to bed, somewhere between that moment when you're just about to fall into a deep sleep, one of my characters walked up to talk to me. If I told this to anyone else around me or at work they'll think I'm nuts.
    So, we sat there in my mind just talking. When I had created Caro2, I made him to be this sweet and kind person. Since he is the guide of my main character Cara1, he had fallen in love with her sometime during his duty to watch over her.
    Her mother is his queen, she is also the goddess of earth. She had given up her own immortality and powers in order to bind her four unborn children's powers before she fled down to earth, with the help of four guides. One for each child to be born.

    Caro2 has a life long friend, I call Caro3. When I had built up his character and personality, I only meant for him to be there as more of, I guess a filler? But somewhere along the way, I started to fall more in love with him than Caro2. His sarcasm, arrogance and cocky attitude, brought more life to my story. With Caro2 gone to help his twin brother who has Cara1's sister with him, left Caro3 to watch over Cara1 for him. Now these two had no choice, but to work together. I can't have them fall in love too much with each other because she is meant to be with Caro2. That is where my problem began, the instant attraction to Caro3 is just as strong as Caro2's. Since Cara1 didn't immediately recognize her strange reaction to Caro2 when they first met during her mother's funeral, it was a slow process for me to get her to realize it. Then I just threw in Caro3. I was only trying to solidify their building relationship. Caro3 is not meant to live through this story, but I need her to be in love with him also. Not too much like Caro2, just close enough to impact my readers to tears when he dies.

    I couldn't believe, how close to tears I was just knowing I had to kill him off after he's served his purpose. Now, I'm not so sure I want to do that, but I don't see any other way. My story will fall apart if he stays.
    Talking to him in my dreams, was heart breaking.

    @EdFromNY: I honestly can not let this story go, when I tried that, I actually cried. I know it sounds silly and immature, but I couldn't help myself. This novel is my baby, something that has taken so long to finally come out. Shaping and building up a world filled with characters who not only talk to you, but also show you where you need to go. They're like my best friends and confidants. Imaginary people who don't judge or criticize you like others do in the real world. They actually listen and see the kind person you really are, believe in you when everyone else around you doesn't seem to. To me their just as real as you and I.
     
  18. Ashrynn
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    Ashrynn Active Member

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    Mary, I get what you're saying. I'm probably known, if I'm known for anything, for writing fluffy short stories with romantic appeals. I'm like you a bit. I really dislike the idea that they are just characters in a story, because I do my best to make them have real emotions. That said, people let you down and so can characters - They are people after all! I used to picture these perfect beings, but people aren't like that.

    We're flawed. It's in our nature. It's our beauty even!! And sometimes those flawed people we love and care about just.. go! It's supposed to hurt, because in spite of any logic we could apply to it, in spite of what's better or what makes sense we're just emotional. We're logical beings that are overrun with our emotions. It's ok to be said, but use that! Use that same pain you feel because that's how you want your readers to feel. You want the reader to fall in love with your characters just like you did. To see them as real people just like you do. It gives their life and death meaning. It gives your book meaning!

    I'm young though, not bragging, and it's a real pain sometimes(See? Was totally NOT bragging!). I come to these forums and read a lot of what people write and often times I'm afraid to comment. In real life I run a full, aggressive sales staff and most of the people are older than myself, but online? Online I'm not sure I want to just run my mouth off. I don't want to say the wrong things, especially to other writers, and be 'wrong'. Wrong is a funny term in writing, don't you think? But it's how I feel.

    When I write I'm writing one scene here, dialogue there, basically when I get trapped I put it down and pick up somewhere else. Usually I've figured out how I want to proceed based on where I decided to go later in the story. It's helpful, but it's scatterbrained and maybe not super useful for you to do! We're all pretty different after all. But I'd love to chat whenever. I'm a chatty person after all! Bouncing ideas and helping is a bit easier than full on critiquing(at least when I'm expected to do it).
     
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  19. MaryMO
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    MaryMO Member

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    I know exactly what you mean! My job requires me to interact with people constantly. They call to complain or insult me. Sometimes I have to play supervisor or manager and go out to the front desk to address their issue face to face. I was offered the management position once, but I turned it down. What I already do is stressful enough, I didn't want the added responsibility of that position. Plus this is what I really want to do.

    As for saying (typing;)) the 'wrong' thing in this forum, I can empathize with you on that. I have been working on my novel for over 3 months now, when someone from work suggested I surround myself with people who are either successful or are trying to become writers. So, I went looking through the web and after weeks of research, finally found writingforums.org. I was afraid to post anything at first, staring at my screen with my cursor, winking at me on the empty new thread box. Taking a deep breath, I typed out a couple of questions and then immediately hit backspace.:eek: This went on for about a couple of hours before I got the courage to hit that post new thread button, which I did with my heart pumping in fear. Just like I'm doing now.:D

    I'd love to chat and bounce ideas with you. Thank you. I have to go to work now, but ask me anything. I mean that anything, start up a conversation with me and I'll look into on my lunch break.
    I can't wait!:D
     
  20. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    I find this forum interesting and educational but I think having someone right there to talk to is better for some purposes. Our local group has helped a lot of people figure out what they needed to do to improve their stories.

    Have you tried looking at the bulletin board of local bookstores, asking about writing groups, searching on line for local groups, or rounding up people yourself to start a local group?
     
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  21. MaryMO
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    MaryMO Member

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    I've got about over 30,000 words in my novel, but that was when I was working on my 5th chapter. I haven't really looked at it since. What I don't want to do is keep track of how many words or chapters for that matter.
    Wrtier's digest had ads and information on NaNoWriMo. I did consider entering, but I was too scared. Who am I? I'm no one compared to all these aspiring writers, they've gone to school and studied. My education level is a few college courses, but I couldn't even complete one semester.

    Being a reader taught me my basic knowledge on how to write. By the time I've wanted to continue my education, I already had a family. In fact I still have a 4 year old at home with me, who is constantly fighting for my attention, while his 3 other sibling are at school. Trying to balance out my time for them and work is hard enough for me. Now I added trying to start this new career? There just isn't enough time in a day or night to do much of anything else. I'm a night owl anyways, that's the only reason why I've gotten that far in my novel. To me that's still not much. I would love to complete it in 30 days, but the hours you'll have to put in just won't fit into my already busy schedule.

    As for trying to succeed within a certain time frame was more of an estimate, but you're right. Maybe that's what I'm doing, rushing myself.
    I really don't expect publishing companies to take me on the first try, just like everything else I'll have to work at it. I expect them to turn me down over and over again. But if I don't at least try, I'll never get anywhere. With that being said, next year I will enter in the NaNoWriMo and who knows? Maybe, that's were I'll find an opportunity to get published.;)

    Good luck to you too!:agreed:
     
  22. MaryMO
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    MaryMO Member

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    Yes, there are writing groups here. I have yet to go though, but thank you for the suggestions. I really appreciate it.
     
  23. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hold on, Nano isn't about getting published, it's about trying to get 50k words written...see, you only needed a bit of a rocket up your bum and you could do it!

    I doubt whether as many as 1% of NaNo "winners" (that just means you submitted 50k words within the time-frame) get published...after all, 50k words in 30 days probably means 20k words when you come back and look at it, and cut out the padding and rubbish.
     
  24. MaryMO
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    MaryMO Member

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    Oh, I understand. But I'm still skeptical about my abilities to write. Since I'm only just starting off, I really don't have that much confidence in myself. I know what you're saying and maybe a little boost should help, but really? It will be so nerve wrecking for me. My knowledge on writing is mediocre at best, to enter into a contest right now is like being in a horror movie. I can't even watch them without having nightmares after.:eek:

    I'll look more into it and chat or read those who have entered about their experience. Then I'll consider it for next year.
     
  25. VioletScented
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    VioletScented Member

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    I think you are so right there, Ashrynn. I would recommend taking that to heart MaryMo. I loved my characters from my first book and I just wanted to show everyone how amazing these people were. But it was my first book, and as has been mentioned above, the first book seems to often be part of the learning process. Your first steps aren't necessarily your most graceful ones. It really hurt me to put my first book (and its lovely characters) away in a box somewhere. But I comfort myself by thinking that I can return to them one day and either write a new story with them in or improve that first novel.

    When it comes to worrying about what skills/knowledge you need to write - I think you have one of the most important ones: you read books. After that it is all practice (and possibly looking up some tips in books on how to improve your writing.) At least that is my humble opinion.
     

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