By nippy818 on Dec 7, 2015 at 4:15 AM
  1. nippy818

    nippy818 Senior Member

    Mar 30, 2014
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    What I learned writing my novel.

    Discussion in 'Articles' started by nippy818, Dec 7, 2015.

    Some of you might know, from following my progress journal, that worked on my first novel for a year and a half and now it is at the editor I learned many things, looking back at classic writers, Twain, Thompson, London, Frost.
    -First and the most important lesson I learned, it started as a hobby but it is no longer a game. I looked for inspiration to hit me anything to get my muse going, but I learned I had to force myself to write. I have said it before and I'll preach it again, I force 2000 words a day, no excuses. I learned if i was going to take it serious, it had to be treated like a job. There were nights I went through my notes kicking and screaming, not wanting to write, not wanting to deal with the scene I was on. I brought my laptop and all 12 of my notebooks on vacation, and when everyone went to bed I wrote. Some nights I just barely hit 2000 words and was oh so happy after the hours at the keyboard, other nights I hit it out of the ballpark and wrote 4 to 5 thousand words (and no, my words never rolled over)

    -My second lesson, sometimes you have to look at other pieces. My 2k words a night were not always aimed at my main novel, sometimes I worked on outlines, poetry, other novels in the same series. I learned that writers block was an excuse for procrastination, and above all, even if it wasn't my main piece, I was still honing my skills and abilities.

    -My inner editor and critic is a liar. I don't mean everything I wrote was gold, but I had to learn to silence the negativity and write every idea down. I tried to imagine how it would work out, but unless it was typed or written on paper, I never knew for sure if it was good or bad. Everything I was on the fence about, I cut and pasted into another document and waited on it as I wrote the scene over and over in different ways, till it was time to let my inner critic out, and let him cut and slash everything and anything.

    -Notebooks, God I love them. From .79 cent legal pads to moleskin and water proof, i keep them everywhere. Every coat I have, there is one hidden in a pocket, my toolbox at work, my car (i keep a tape recorder.), my bedroom and scattered through the house. (I do in fact have a water proof notebook and an astronaut pen so i can write in the shower.) I write every idea, every piece of the puzzle, whether its relevant or not. Every Friday night, i gather everything up, and file it in my three ring binder/outline. I make my living as a mechanic but at my heart I am a writer first and foremost.

    -Don't beat yourself up. In the beginning I took criticisms to heart, thought that everything i wrote was trash. A lot of it was, but as I learned what worked and didn't I shaped my story, and my skill.

    -Read... Always keep reading. I wrote 2k a night and I read a chapter a day. Hunter S. Thompson used to type famous pieces of work to get a feel of what the author was doing, thinking, feeling, so I read. Top sellers, free e books, sci fi fantasy everything but YA (Personal preference, I have a hard time with teenagers that save the world.) Even romance. What better way to learn than to see how published authors do it.

    I am not saying this is the only correct way to view things, but these are the lessons I learned in the last 18 months or so. If you have anything too add, I would be happy to see what everyone else has learned.


Discussion in 'Articles' started by nippy818, Dec 7, 2015.

    1. Hwaigon
      I mean. Who hasn't felt like that?
      I do believe though that one has to bring a project to completion. That in itself has some kind of mysterious, driving force. For me, at least, a project
      does not need to be perfect, reasonably good, sure, at least having a passage here and there, the wording of which I'm proud of, but finishing it is
      the saving merit.
      Megs33 likes this.
    2. Megs33
      Totally agree. In my very specific case, as someone who has spent entirely too much of my life telling myself what I SHOULD do, what I HAVE to do, this will be a wonderful exercise in letting go. I'm well-versed in rigid, unforgiving discipline and the accompanying anxieties and fears; now I'm hoping to get myself a little more chilled out and well-rounded before wading in to the authorial deeps. Scrivener and I have a very cautious and juvenile relationship.

      I always knew I was a newbie, and now I'm learning that the "newbie" status carries more subcategories than I care to name. So i'll keep plodding along and hope I get this thing right. Here's to blind faith. :-D
      honey hatter likes this.
    3. karanveer41
      Wow, what an inspiring message. Thank you for sharing these insights.

      God bless you for your effort.
      honey hatter and nippy818 like this.
    4. honey hatter
      honey hatter
      N818 inspiring words I'm going to take to heart. ❤️
      You made the vein on the left side of my neck tingle. That only happens when I feel inspired... or...
      This is another tool I can add to my chest. So helpful thank you. I am taking things one step at a time.
      nippy818 likes this.
    5. nippy818
      I'm glad to see that this thread is still inspiring other writers! This last 7 months have been so hectic that I haven't been nearly as active as i used to be. It came down to another thing I learned, the more I consumed, ie. tv, movies, books, comics, internet, ect. the less i had for my own creativity. I'm still working on being more of a creator than a consumer, but since i placed myself in that mind set my productivity has been through the roof. I'm on the 5th or 6th draft of the second book in the series, on the 2nd draft of the third book, and I have recently started a pulp sci fi noir serial.
    6. Cave Troll
      Cave Troll
      Glad to hear you got your groove back. :cheerleader:
      honey hatter and nippy818 like this.
    7. nippy818
      thanks! its been a long process, but I'm defiantly killing it these days!
      honey hatter and Cave Troll like this.
    8. honey hatter
      honey hatter
      Megs33 such a good post! Words to live by. The accompanying anxieties and fears i am too well versed in... That is now like an old decrepit vampire metaphor for my neurosis that i have driven a wooden stake through it's dried up desiccated heart and watched the ashes float away on the wind. My apologies, even though my heart no longer beats, i wish to defeat my old demons and move onto something greater.
      Megs33, nippy818 and Cave Troll like this.
    9. cutecat22
      1. make notes. Your brain tells you it will remember things, but it's a bloody liar. Write notes.
      2. don't pay as much attention as you think you must, to the word count. It's important in some instances (certain publishers will only take novels of a certain length) but the story, the plot, and readability are all far more important than upping that little counter in the bottom corner of the screen.
      3. there are no rules to writing fiction. Pay attention to the rules of spelling and grammar, fuck everything else and tell your story.
      D.Clarke, BlitzGirl, nippy818 and 4 others like this.
    10. honey hatter
      honey hatter
      This may be some of the best advice I've seen, I'm actively following it everyday, I constantly forget things so I'm trying to write out my ideas as soon as they come.
      cutecat22 likes this.
    11. cutecat22
      I'll often email myself from work if something hits my brain as I know I'll forget it.
      CerebralEcstasy and honey hatter like this.
    12. honey hatter
      honey hatter
      i'm getting ready to write, hopefully i'll come up with something good.
      cutecat22 and nippy818 like this.
    13. Spirit of seasons
      Spirit of seasons
      Wile I don’t use physical notebooks, I have a drawing pad at work, and a good note taking app on my phone.

      I had such a hard time with my first project. I had to many outlines, and everything felt very forced. I’d barely get 500 words per day. Followed by long strings of writers block.

      Fast forward to when I got the idea for Evergreen. It flew out of my head and onto the page. I’ve made a habit of typing instead of hand weighting because I can do that much faster. Disabling spell check and auto correct helped a lot. I consistently write at least 1k words per day, but I don’t beat myself up if I don’t hit my goal. I’ve only missed one day of writing so far.
      CerebralEcstasy, jannert and nippy818 like this.
    14. CerebralEcstasy
      What have I learned from writing my novel? I don't think I'm a writer, I spend all my time editing!!!!! Some days I will rewrite a paragraph, or two, or several and I don't even recognize the work I had previously. I have about 17 different iterations on my drive, and some of them still have good material, others, I should probably delete.

      Thanks to some good critique I've been working at fleshing out scenes, writing character bios, and surfing Deviant Art for things that make me go 'wow, that makes me think of this scene or that character'.
      nippy818 likes this.
    15. russellh92
      YES, I agree with you that you need to continue to write every day, even the muse left you. But I can't, the story turns out very dry and ridiculous. Only when an idea appears, the story comes to life and as if breathing. You will edit the text and perhaps a good idea will come.
      Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2018
      nippy818, jannert and CerebralEcstasy like this.
    16. jannert
      There is (what I believe is) a misconception that many new writers buy into—with either good results or not. The only way things will progress is if you're sitting churning out words on your computer. In fact, that can be the end result of a lot of other work, not the start. Thinking, planning, taking notes, doing research, time alone to envision things and play scenes out in your head ...these all contribute to writing. Just sitting and plodding along, tapping out words when you either don't feel the least bit inspired or are confused about what should happen next in your story is NOT necessarily the way to go forward.

      Do not let anybody make you feel guilty because you're not always writing, or don't sit at your computer for a specified number of hours per day, etc. You are a writer if you write, and you are an author if you finish what you write. But how often you achieve these things or how you achieve them is a very personal exercise. There is no right or wrong way to get there, as long as you do get there. Eventually.
    17. Carriage Return
      Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
      CerebralEcstasy likes this.
    18. matwoolf
      But what does that mean?
      Cave Troll likes this.
    19. Carriage Return
      Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
    20. Carriage Return
      Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
      CerebralEcstasy and Cave Troll like this.
    21. Cave Troll
      Cave Troll
      That you can make a torture scene funny, with the right characters. :D
    22. psychotick

      What have I learned? Very little from writing. I just write because I have to. I have a story in my head and I simply want to get it down in pixels. But I suppose one lesson has been that the muse only takes you so far. It doesn't quite get me to finishing a novel. Nearly - but unless I pushed myself right at the end I'd edit and rewrite my book a thousand times over and never finish it.

      Where most of my learning has come from is editing. For a start I learned that I hate editing!!! I'm not too keen on being told I'm wrong, I suppose. But it's also the grind of simply going through a work line by line, day after day. And Track Changes is by far the most horrid programme ever invented! But editing is also a valuable teaching tool. As well as getting your book to the publishing stage, it also teaches you to think more like a writer. The down side of this? It becomes very difficult to read another book without having this nit picking voice in my head telling me he shouldn't have done it that way.

      And publishing taught me a lot too. But the one thing it taught me above all else? How damned good it feels to have a copy of your book in your hands!

      Cheers, Greg.
    23. Alan Aspie
      Alan Aspie
      If you have been reading a book a day, you have surely developed immunity to getting too much influence.
    24. LoaDyron
      Although I am using fanfic to improve my writing, I can say I have learned a lot with my story. The process I went through ideas, even asking for advice, the thought of, this makes no sense or; this must be cut because will not develop the plot, it helps to become better and better. :supersmile:
      nippy818 likes this.
    25. wecherylsmith
      Wow I adore my hobby. I had a difficult period in my life, but then I discovered the sport and namely golf and the writing of my book. By the way, I buy all the golf goods here because only the best products are collected here. I am writing a book about the wonderful life and about the fact that people do not notice the beauty of this world. I hope this book I will affect people.
      nippy818 likes this.

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