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Author Topic: Questions to ponder part 12  (Read 29544 times)
RokofAges75
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« Reply #510 on: January 01, 2015, 10:25:45 PM »

That was an interesting article. Not sure if I agree with all of it. They didn't really leave much to go on. I have done many of those things as well though.

I'm not sure what my favorite first line is. I can barely even remember story names. I think for a real novel my favorite first line of a book was from "Nineteen Minutes."  I don't recall what it was but it sucked me in immediately.

I have mixed feelings about that article too.  I agreed with a lot of it, but I can see the reasoning behind using at least some of those beginnings.  Like I get that the "It was a dark and stormy night" is cliche, but I don't think it's the worst beginning ever.  At least it sets the scene and suggests that something scary might happen.  And sometimes I think it's important to show an average day in the main character's life, or at least part of an average day, so the reader understands the status quo before things change.

That said, I also thought this was interesting:

"The modern trend, particularly in genre or YA fiction, but increasingly in literary fiction too, is to start the story with the main character on the first page, and to start with the inciting incident.  No backstory before chapter three, and then pare it to the bone."

I have noticed this change just comparing the recently-published YA fiction I've read to the books I read growing up.  Modern books move a lot faster, whereas I remember skipping ahead to the third, fourth, or fifth chapter to see when things would finally start getting good with books I read when I was younger.  I have definitely been THAT writer, who takes forever to get to the point, too.  I think you can definitely show a wider character arc if you take the time to show how the character was before his or life changed, but that's only if you can keep the readers' attention long enough to get them to read that far.
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"Sometimes writers and sociopaths are hard to tell apart." -J.K. Rowling

RokofAges75
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« Reply #511 on: January 01, 2015, 10:28:52 PM »

I really miss reading and thanks to my kids and all the B&N gift cards, I have made a vow to start reading daily again. I've already finished "Revival" and just started "Leaving Time"  

How was Revival?  And which was the SK book you mentioned earlier this fall that had the boyband in it?  I could use something new to read before I get bogged down with professional reading for class again.  The last book I read was "Gone Girl" last fall, which was great once I got into it, and afterwards I was looking for another good read, but couldn't find anything that really hooked me from the beginning.  I love being able to sample books on my Kindle, but sometimes it makes my pickiness even worse because I'll download a million samples, start reading them, and then not care enough to actually buy the book so I can finish it.  I need to find something that demands to be finished!
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RokofAges75
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« Reply #512 on: January 01, 2015, 10:33:16 PM »

As far as resolutions go... I would really not like to go another semester without writing a single word of fanfic.  I hope I can find more of a balance between work, homework, other real life obligations, and writing this year.  I have learned that I can make time for writing, even on weeknights, if I'm really inspired and into my story, but if I'm not, I just don't have the energy.  So I guess my first priority is to get back into my story so I can keep writing, even when life gets busy again.  Otherwise I'm going to end up being a summer-only writer, and by summer I mean July, at least until I'm done with my master's.
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« Reply #513 on: January 02, 2015, 05:13:36 AM »

I have mixed feelings about that article too.  I agreed with a lot of it, but I can see the reasoning behind using at least some of those beginnings.  Like I get that the "It was a dark and stormy night" is cliche, but I don't think it's the worst beginning ever.  At least it sets the scene and suggests that something scary might happen.  And sometimes I think it's important to show an average day in the main character's life, or at least part of an average day, so the reader understands the status quo before things change.

That said, I also thought this was interesting:

"The modern trend, particularly in genre or YA fiction, but increasingly in literary fiction too, is to start the story with the main character on the first page, and to start with the inciting incident.  No backstory before chapter three, and then pare it to the bone."

I have noticed this change just comparing the recently-published YA fiction I've read to the books I read growing up.  Modern books move a lot faster, whereas I remember skipping ahead to the third, fourth, or fifth chapter to see when things would finally start getting good with books I read when I was younger.  I have definitely been THAT writer, who takes forever to get to the point, too.  I think you can definitely show a wider character arc if you take the time to show how the character was before his or life changed, but that's only if you can keep the readers' attention long enough to get them to read that far.

I have noticed that too. Most of these stories start after the main plot point has occured and then they spend their time flashing back and telling us the story. I think because the attention span kids have in general is nowhere like it was when we were kids. No one has any patience anymore. Because of all these video games and action packed movies, if something starts too slow teens want nothing to do with it anymore.

Kids today... lol
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RokofAges75
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« Reply #514 on: January 02, 2015, 05:16:45 AM »

LOL It's so true though!  As a reader, I don't particularly like slow books, but there is something to be said for sticking with a book long enough for it to pay off and then appreciating the slow building of suspense and the depth of character development that comes with a long, slowly-moving story.  Like I think of Stephen King's The Stand.  It's SO long and so slow in parts, but you have to get through that to appreciate the epicness of the whole thing!
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« Reply #515 on: January 02, 2015, 05:26:57 AM »

Yes! That's a great example. I love when the story finally comes together and you get that "Holy crap!" Moment lol that seems to be missing nowadays.
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Writing is something you do alone. Its a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don't want to make eye contact while doing it. ~ John Green

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« Reply #516 on: January 03, 2015, 10:57:53 AM »

I think one of my resolutions is going to be to write something.  I don't think I wrote anything last year, or nothing which got posted at least.  I do intend to change that now that I have a nice new laptop Smiley
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RokofAges75
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« Reply #517 on: January 03, 2015, 01:21:48 PM »

Ooh, congrats on the new laptop!  Hopefully that will help get you motivated again.

So what does everyone's writing set-up look like?  Do you do your writing on a laptop, desktop, phone, on paper, or what?  Do you have a certain place where you do all your writing, or do you move around?  Do you do anything special to create an ambiance, like lighting candles or playing music?
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« Reply #518 on: January 03, 2015, 02:23:48 PM »

I no longer have a laptop & decided I can't really write via any other way so writing has become non-existant.
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« Reply #519 on: January 04, 2015, 01:58:53 AM »

That sucks that you still haven't been able to replace your laptop! Sad  I would never have the patience to write on my phone, and I don't really like to write by hand either, although I guess if you got really inspired, you could do that and type it up at school or something.
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« Reply #520 on: January 04, 2015, 02:32:34 AM »

I agree. I don't know what I'd do. I'm sorry you haven't been able to get a new laptop Sad.
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« Reply #521 on: January 04, 2015, 04:07:27 AM »

Unless another laptop fairy comes along I'll never be able to afford a new one...well never say never I guess... not for a very very very (add a few more) long while. lol
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« Reply #522 on: January 05, 2015, 05:48:33 AM »

That was an interesting article. Not sure if I agree with all of it. They didn't really leave much to go on. I have done many of those things as well though.

I'm not sure what my favorite first line is. I can barely even remember story names. I think for a real novel my favorite first line of a book was from "Nineteen Minutes."  I don't recall what it was but it sucked me in immediately.

You know I took a break from writing for a little bit cause I was curious as to what my fave first line was from something I've written. So I actually looked LOL.

It's actually from Undead and it's nothing innovating. But it really sums up everything Nick's entire character arc throughout the story. And I like that it happens in the very first line of the story LOL.

"I guess a lot of people say that through every tough thing, you find more of yourself. "

On the same note anyone know of a final line that they love in their stories? Mine is from RMTW. It's so simple and yet so final. "I shut the door behind me." Because of Brian's visit with Nick being the end, it's sort of shutting the door on his acceptance of who/what Nick's become.

That article and writing more in general got me thinking about this stuff.
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Double Rainbow Fiction - So Bright and So Vivid...


"Don't annoy the writer. They may put you in a book and kill you." —Anonymous

“I don’t believe in being serious about anything. I think life is too serious to be taken seriously.” —Ray Bradbury

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« Reply #523 on: January 06, 2015, 04:24:53 AM »

Happy New Year!

Do you have any writing- or reading-related resolutions this year?

Well considering I haven't written in month, that would nbe my first resolution is to get back into writing again. I've been busy though with other hobbies and work taking up my time. Plus I write from my phone so it's hard for me to motivate myself to write on a touch screen. With my blackberry it used to be so easy to crank out a chapter a day. I guess when it's time for me to write again it will just happen.
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RokofAges75
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« Reply #524 on: January 07, 2015, 11:50:52 AM »

You know I took a break from writing for a little bit cause I was curious as to what my fave first line was from something I've written. So I actually looked LOL.

It's actually from Undead and it's nothing innovating. But it really sums up everything Nick's entire character arc throughout the story. And I like that it happens in the very first line of the story LOL.

"I guess a lot of people say that through every tough thing, you find more of yourself. "

On the same note anyone know of a final line that they love in their stories? Mine is from RMTW. It's so simple and yet so final. "I shut the door behind me." Because of Brian's visit with Nick being the end, it's sort of shutting the door on his acceptance of who/what Nick's become.

That article and writing more in general got me thinking about this stuff.

I think that first line of Undead is true not just of Nick, but of many of the characters!  So in that respect, it actually sums up one of the themes of the whole novel.

I would say my best beginning is probably Guilty Roads.  The first line is "If Nick had known the impact his choices that night would have on the people closest to him, he would have just stayed at the hotel," which I like because it foreshadows something bad happening.  And that inciting event actually happens in the very first chapter.  No messing around with back story and the slow building of suspense in this story!

As far as endings go, I think my favorite actual last line is from a short story, In Pieces.  It's AJ's dialogue:  “She didn’t love us. She just left us there in pieces.”  I like it because it's catchy and incorporates the title in a way that is both figurative and literal.

My favorite overall ending to a novel has to be By My Side, though.  They say you're not supposed to end with a wedding or a funeral, and I did both, but for that story, I think it worked.  It was an epic ending for an overly long, completely over-the-top story.  The actual last line is "Yet it was here their bodies could finally rest, side by side," which I think is a fitting ending after all the drama and suffering the characters went through.

Endings are tough, though... maybe even harder than beginnings!  I think I put more pressure on myself to come up with a great last line than I do for a first line, especially for a novel I've been working on for a long time and am really attached to.  I feel like I owe it a worthy ending.  I probably should spend more time on my beginnings because that is really what makes or breaks the story as far as attracting readers.  If the beginning sucks, they'll never bother to read the ending!

Which do you guys think is harder, writing beginnings or endings?
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~Julie

"Sometimes writers and sociopaths are hard to tell apart." -J.K. Rowling

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