Sparroscope

Q: About beginning novel writing?

5 posts in this topic

1. How do you get a hold of, mentally,an entire story your reading or writing?

2. I want to practice writing and practice reading every day, what books should I start reading to we myself into it and make it fun especially if reading is not one of my fortees. What can I do to get in the habit of writing everyday again? at one point it came easy then I wrote a story and someone said they liked it and would like to see where the story is headed but it frightened me because i had no idea where to take it. This frightened me and its been hard to write everyday sense how do I make it enjoyable for them? I've recently bought Persistence is that a good book to read to get over writer's block?

3. How do you do research?

4.I will try and take James patterson's master class to learn how to research and see what he has to say about writing...is that a good idea?

5. I've been listening to the podcast for around a year or two now? any way to get questions to them so they can be answered on the show?

6. what books do you guys recommend to get started with reading? novels and creative writing books?

Edited by Sparroscope
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There is a Brandon Sanderson lecture series on youtube and there is this pdf [/url]http://www.writeaboutdragons.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/sanderson-intro-scifi-fantasy-2012.pdf[/url] which has the notes from previous lectures.

 

I just found this info myself so not an expert at all but you need to put aside 10-20 minutes each day and just write.  Brandon wrote like 5 books that he said were horrible before writing one good one.  The reason was he was not a good enough writer yet to tell the stories.

 

Read books that engage you... whatever floats your boat.  Some of my suggestions:

 

1. Mistborn - amazing characters and worldbuilding

2. Wheel of Time - the most epic of epic fantasies (very long)

3. Anythign else by Brandon (Elantris, Warbreaker, stormlight etc) 

4. Death Gate Cycle - pretty long but really cool world building.  Think Lord of the Rings meets Interstellar

5. Tigana - almost done with it now really good standalone work

6. Shadow Campaign series - Flintlock fantasy by Django Wexler

7. Name of the Wind - universal favorite by readers and authors alike

8. Blood song - fun and entertaining trilogy

9. Promise of Blood - have not read this one but Brandon recommended it

 

You do not need to read all of these or any of them but try to read the synopsis and see which ones fit your style.  I would highly recommend Mistborn because it is only three books and it has a lot of worldbuilding and strong characters.

 

I have never written a novel but personally I get bogged down in the planning/outlining stage.  You need to put words on paper.  Put aside time every day and just write write write.  Write the story you want to read.  Maybe begin with a Novella or short story?

 

Good luck and don't convince yourself you have to do this or that before writing... just write and go from there.  There is a lot of info from Brandon's own mouth about building characters but if you don't right it isn't worth a thing.

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Hi there - I hope this helps. I've been writing SFF, on and off, for about 30 years, but I've only finished 4 novels, because most of that time was off!  :-)    These are just my own thoughts on the matter, I'm not an expert, but I've been trying for a long time.

 

1. How do you get a hold of, mentally,an entire story your reading or writing?    I don't think that's the issue. Nobody has the whole story in their head at the beginning, but I think you do need most of an arc for a main character. Who do you want to write about and why? What is their journey through the story, where do they end up and how does it change them? I dare say most people would have a setting in mind and a style. Once you have that, you might choose to outline the whole story before starting, or simply start writing and see where it takes you (pantsing). In my own experience, I have used a mixture of outlining and discovery, and most writers (amateurs who I have spoken to) are somewhere on a spectrum between the two extremes. For my latest novel, just finished, I outlined the first half and wrote character descriptions, and by the time I ran out of outline, the characters were making their own decisions!

 

2. I want to practice writing and practice reading every day, what books should I start reading to we myself into it and make it fun especially if reading is not one of my fortees.  Seems to me you have to read and write things that you enjoy. For me, listen to Writing Excuses and just write, anything. Use the podcast writing prompts, but just write.

 

What can I do to get in the habit of writing everyday again?  There are no tricks, you just have to write.

 

Someone said they liked it and would like to see where the story is headed but it frightened me because i had no idea where to take it. This frightened me and its been hard to write everyday sense how do I make it enjoyable for them?   At this stage (your beginning), it has to be enjoyable for you. It's not about them. They are only one person. In my view, there is you and there is the audience - which is just everyone else, not one person.

 

I've recently bought Persistence is that a good book to read to get over writer's block?   The only cure for writer's block is to write. It's a bit glib of me to say this, but just write anything. Write me 100 words about an elf lost in the forest. It doesn't matter, you just have to write, something, anything. As far as continuing your story, I think you need to just pick a route and write it. It might not work and you might discard it and go back and try something else. Or jump over the bit you're stuck on and write something further on then join the two up.

 

Something they discuss on WE from time to time is the that fact that, sometimes, a story is just dead and one needs to discard it and write something else, or maybe write a short story then come back to your long project. Anything you can and need to do to get back writing.

 

3. How do you do research?    Google / Wiki

 

4.I will try and take James patterson's master class to learn how to research and see what he has to say about writing...is that a good idea?  No idea. it depends what you want to write. As Brandon (I think) pointed out, if you make your own world there is no research as such, although you do then need to create it.

 

5. I've been listening to the podcast for around a year or two now? any way to get questions to them so they can be answered on the show?    There's a discussion forum on the WE website under each cast, at least there used to be... yup, it's still there. Howard used to go on there, back in the early seasons, don't know if he still does. At least you are discussing questions with regular listeners to the cast. I never understood why there wasn't more discussion of the cast on this forum - i guess because it's all on the website.

 

6. what books do you guys recommend to get started with reading? novels and creative writing books?    I love the works of Jack Vance, lyrical SF / Space Opera, and David Gemmell's heroic fantasy is excellent, I think. Larry Niven or Peter Hamilton for SF. William Gibson and Jeff Noon for cyber-punk - for me anyway.

Edited by Robinski
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  1. You outline. Even if you're a discovery writer you can outline to some extent by thinking about what you want to discover as you go along, and setting some parameters for yourself to invent within. You should experiment with how much outlining is comfortable for you before you start moving into doing your first novel.
  2. Sort out what you want to read before you start outlining anything or writing seriously. (do freewriting, (if you're not familiar, it just means complete stream of consciousness writing where all your thoughts go onto the paper/document with little or no editing) really short fiction, blog articles if you like non-fiction, etc...) Try good books from a lot of genres so you can see what you like about each of them. If there's a time when you're not writing for a while, it can even be a good exercise to pick up a bad book once you've got a decent amount of writing chops, and figure out the various reasons why it's bad and what bothers you about it both from an authorial sense and a thematic sense.
  3. Depends how in depth I need to go. A lot of my research is done because I like reading non-fiction. I can totally write political intrigue books with just some thematic research before starting. Even when writing fantasy, I do research. I have a story where transportation is by horse because there's no magical transportation, so I needed to learn things like how do you look after a horse when travelling, how often do they need to stop, etc... to avoid treating getting on a horse from being like riding a motorbike. I read several books on horse riding at the library to do this, although you can also google for a lot of things nowadays. The difficulty you have in internet research is that you have to have a strong BS filter, as everyone has an opinion and a lot more of the incorrect ones get published on the internet than make it into a library.
  4. I would recommend you know what you want to write about before you take a writing class. A writing class teaches you the how. (both the "how to write," and if the teacher is any good, there'll be some degree of the "how to sell," too) You need to figure out the why to write bit, why you're doing it and the sorts of things you want to say in general, before sitting down and drafting things.
  5. The podcasters tend to follow the comments on an episode while it's the newest, or you can head to http://www.writingexcuses.com/contact/. Keep in mind they are busy so they may just listen to what you have to say and not answer, not to mention episodes are often pre-recorded months ahead of time, so even if you have a great question they really want to answer it may not make it to a Q&A episode until way later in the year.
  6. To get started, find the genre and elements you know you love. Are you a fantasy reader? If so Fox's list will help for you. If you're more into scifi Robin had a few suggestions, to which I would add for your consideration the Dune books, (you may want to stop reading before you pick up the ones his son co-wrote) Kevin J Anderson to see if you like more near-future scifi, (He actually predicted satellites iirc?) the original Ender's Game novel by Orson Scott Card, Ian Hamilton, Terry Pratchett's scifi forays, and I think that everyone should read Foundation, but I may be biased.

    For fantasy, I would add that Brent Weeks is a great current author as well as Brandon and Pat Rothfuss, and there are all sorts of classics, although I tend to be quite picky about them because I don't want to read the ones that are too similar to Lord of The Rings, a story which I have read and watched over and over and don't need to see aped. ;)

    While you're exploring the books you love, ask yourself about what elements about that genre excite you- and how you can put together a fresh theme, fresh elements within the bookshelf genre you love, before you start writing, because knowing that stuff will minimise the amount of words you write that aren't good enough to share.

Edited by Ari
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On 12/12/2015 at 9:17 AM, Sparroscope said:

1. How do you get a hold of, mentally,an entire story your reading or writing?

Oh, I don't at all! I usually start with a central theme, or group of characters I like, and discovery write everything from there. Literally have no idea what will happen chapter to chapter, and that is what makes it fun for me!

2. I want to practice writing and practice reading every day, what books should I start reading to we myself into it and make it fun especially if reading is not one of my fortees.

I think you should broaden your reading to make sure you aren't just stagnating in one view. Read authors of color. Read queer authors. Read #ownvoices. Get a feel for the writing world outside the norm, so you don't just write cliched stuff.

What can I do to get in the habit of writing everyday again? at one point it came easy then I wrote a story and someone said they liked it and would like to see where the story is headed but it frightened me because i had no idea where to take it.

Just sit your bottom down for some ten minutes or so a day and force yourself to write! It doesn't matter if you don't know where its going. Just put words down. It'll go somewhere, trust me.

This frightened me and its been hard to write everyday sense how do I make it enjoyable for them?

Don't write for other people. Write for yourself. Worry about others later.

I've recently bought Persistence is that a good book to read to get over writer's block?

I don't think reading helps you get over writer's block. Everyone has their own way of overcoming it. You'll have to find yours.

3. How do you do research?

On what? That's a pretty big question.

4.I will try and take James patterson's master class to learn how to research and see what he has to say about writing...is that a good idea?

Maybe? You'll take away more, the more you have already done.

5. I've been listening to the podcast for around a year or two now? any way to get questions to them so they can be answered on the show?

No idea.

6. what books do you guys recommend to get started with reading? novels and creative writing books?

For reading with what end goal??

 

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