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  1. SMTM

    SMTM Member

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    Process of the Greats?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by SMTM, Jan 11, 2008.

    I was wondering if anyone knows how Ernest Hemmingway or Cormac McCarthy or any of the great writers in history or present specifically wrote their novels.

    Did they have the idea in their head and just sit down and grind out the book or maybe they wrote a rough draft of the basic plot and then went back through it and filled in the detail?

    Is there any published novelists on this forum? If so, how do you do it?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Torana

    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that this thread is located in the wrong area of the forum for starters.

    And the only way to get published is by increasing the quality of your work and submitting your work to publishers. The worst that can happen is they say no we aren't interested.

    It happens to the best of the best. Start small and then go big. There are plenty of online publishers to begin with to get out there with your work. Try places like ezines, magazinne, and even try your hand at getting an ebook published.

    Just be prepared to get kicked in the teeth and told that no one is interested for a while and eventually you wil find some one who is interested. It doesn't happen over night, but it will happen if you keep your chin up and keep trying. The harder you try, the better chances you have of succeeding!
     
  3. RomanticRose

    RomanticRose Active Member

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    I don't really think knowing how Hemmingway or Tolstoy or any other writer did it would help.

    I belong to a writing/crit workshop (7 of the 12 are published), and everyone's process of writing is just slightly different. Don't worry about how everyone else does it. Experiment and find the process that works for you.

    Write, revise, submit. Repeat (ad nauseum) until you get that letter that says someone is willing to represent you or publish you.
     
  4. Shreyass

    Shreyass Senior Member

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    Yeah, I guess they sat down and pounded out words everyday as well, there has to be a certain focus in order to become successful (apart from talent, obviously). You can't be a binge writer and be too successful is my guess. And also, keep submitting and keep thy chin up, eventually somethings bound to happen.
     
  5. SMTM

    SMTM Member

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    Thanks Shreyass RomanticRose and Torana. The question doesnt have to do with my writing, if im going to write a book im going to write it how im going write it. So my question was just a curiosity on my part. I really wanted to know how they usually did their writing and I'm assuming from the responses no one knows?

    Ps I coulda sworn I put this under whatever section that said ask a question sorry bout that it was kinda late when I wrote it.
     
  6. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I would suggest looking for interviews or conversations with the writers you're curious about. For example, the Google search Hemingway interview located this 1940 article: Ernest Hemingway Talks of Work and War. You'll probably have some digging to do to get a clear picture of how each writer approached the craft.
     
  7. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    not to worry, smtm... it seems to me that torana was answering another post, one about how to get published, not yours and probably just hit the wrong button... you're in the right place here, as far as i can tell...
     
  8. SMTM

    SMTM Member

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    Thanks Cogito I will try this. Mamma I think I saw in some post that you are published maybe you could tell me how you begin some of your projects? Do you sit down and grind them out or seperate your story into several different areas of plots or character development etc etc maybe?
     
  9. Shreyass

    Shreyass Senior Member

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    I'm curious to know too, you being a published writer and stuff. Is it good to just let the words go and then polish later?
     
  10. Stinger

    Stinger Senior Member

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    Normac McCartey... I really should begin reading his works...

    What made them great? If you look at the great writers through history, they had 2 things in common:

    1) They had something new to say;

    2) They said it in a great way.

    But of course it's not as simple as that... consider this a topic sentence for a long book.
     
  11. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    first of all, i've only had short stories and poems of my own published, along with magazine and newspaper columns [all for pay, not counting freebies on the net, since i stopped writing for money]... the books, plays and screenplays were being shopped around by my agent when i left my old life and self behind, gave away my home and all my worldly goods and dropped out of the material world, so i've no idea whether he ever sold any of it or not and don't care to know...

    as for the writing process, i'm a write by the seat of my pants type... when working on something lengthy. like a book, a stage musical, or a screenplay, i'd do up some sort of simple outline, when the complexity of the plot called for it, but never did and probably never would do all that separate this and that stuff you mention...

    don't know how else one can write, do you?... it's not very likely that anyone can do the polishing in one's head, so the words do have to be down on paper or monitor screen, before they can be polished...

    the only question that remains then, is how much later to do the polishing... after every sentence, every paragraph, page, chapter?... or after the whole story or book has been written?... and on that, i can't tell you which is best, because whatever works best for each writer is what's best for him/her, but not necessarily best for any other...

    hope this helps some... love and hugs, maia
     
  12. SMTM

    SMTM Member

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    Thanks mammamaia. I read something on google about an author that does a procedure for his books called the snowflake method where he does ten steps or so. First he does a couple of summarys then his characters etc. if you want I think you could find it on google by just typing snowflake method or some variation of that, if youre interested that is.
     
  13. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm not, but thanks for the thought... i don't think such a rigidly structured process is needed or will help all that much... and i would never recommend any 'method' to those i mentor, knowing from decades of experience that there's no one-size-fits-all way to write...

    and, fyi, the 'father' of that method, who touts himself as an 'award-winning author' is not a best-selling author by any stretch of the imagination and his only awards [2] are from a minor coalition of christian publishers...
     

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