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kais

Lounge II (The Lounge Strikes Back)

190 posts in this topic

6 hours ago, Eagle of the Forest Path said:

Coptic bindings are awesome, aren't they?

Actually, I think coptic binding is annoying and a bit ugly. ^^;;; I'm in the process of teaching myself how to do it, so I try to do some coptic when I do the one I really love, the french link (the ones with the ribbons over the spines in the picture). Heck, I'd take an artfully done long stitch on even just a paper cover over a coptic bound, but coptic is fast (especially once I get up the nerve to try multiple needles) and what everyone wants, so I need to know it. I mean, coptic's not *bad* (I think I'll like it more once I start tackling endbands) but french link is just so beautiful! 

8 hours ago, Robinski said:

Ooh, plush :)

Well, technically, only the burgundy velvet is plush, but I take your meaning. :3  Thank you! 

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Sorry, I should have said 'plush'... :) 

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Posted (edited)

So, homework.

One of the things that I have become interested going through the Writing Excuses podcasts (I'm now at s11e29 and s12e28; doing the last two seasons in parallel to finish my catch-up) is the degree of certainty / precision / confidence in my writing. By this, I mean how confident/positive are my characters and my narrative, how competent are they? Also, is it a bad thing, or is it the characters being inquisitive and investigatory? Time for some research!

I'm trying to weed out language that introduces doubt in the reader's mind, or suggests a lack of conviction from the author (me!). Offending words include 'maybe', 'perhaps' and 'possibl' (ending deliberately omitted, for reasons that will become clear). Also, '?' should be considered in this exercise as well, I think. I know that these are necessary and important in showing the characters trying to solve whatever it is they're pursuing, but there is a risk, I think, that the reader gets frustrated.

Being (a) a smidge obsessive; (b) an engineer; and (c) easily distracted, I've developed a formula. It's very basic and should be considered rough draft at best. I'm also adding 'could' to it, because it is always possible to use 'would' or 'will' instead. I've excluded 'might' however, because it could me 'strength'.

M = 'maybe' count; R = 'perhaps' count; P = 'possil' count; C = 'could' count; Q = '?' count; N = total number of words; U = unconfident index

     U = 100 * (M+R+P+C+(0.5*Q)) / N                   (See, I told you it was basic!)

Example 1: Mark was sure he had heard a noise, was it the scuff of a shoe? Was he being followed? Perhaps someone had tailed him from the bar after all. Should he hide and try and catch his possible pursuer? What could he do if he did? Maybe the tail would be stronger than him, faster. He could end up on the wrong end of a beating. (U=10.6)

Example 2: Mark heard a noise. It sounded like the scuff of a shoe. He guessed someone had tailed him from the bar after all. He could hide, try and catch his pursuer at it. Maybe with surprise on his side, he would be able to take the guy down, even if he was stronger. It still might cost him a beating, but he needed to know. (U=3.1)

I thought it would be interesting to share this with yous (Glasgow term meaning 'you' plural).

My idea is that you go to you current major work (novel), and search for these words, then post the count up here.

I'll go first. TMM has the following counts, at present.

     maybe - 65; perhaps - 30; possibl - 31; could - 247; and '?' - 603!!!!   N = 75,942    >    (U=0.89)

'possibl' covers 'possibly' and 'possible, or course, which I didn't think deserved to be singled out.

So, all very good (or not, depending on your perspective!!), but we really need a comparison, don't we? So, some time ago (2012, I think) Brandon had a Word version of Warbreaker on his website, which you could download, and it showed track changes from the previous edit. Very useful doc, although I've never explored it all that deeply. But I did download it, hence I can apply the formula to Version 2.0 of Warbreaker. It goes something like this...

     maybe - 94; perhaps - 146; possibl - 57; could - 860; and '?' - 2,137!!!!   N = 204,364    >    (U=1.09)

What does this tell us about the initial premise? Perhaps not very much, by my crude reckoning, other than that the equation does really work at sentence level. I could spin the results into deciding that TMM does not feature enough of Q&M questioning what's going on, making probing inquiries, etc. But, possibly it's not too far away with some editing? Who knows, but, if anyone to there cares a bit too much about the metrics of these things, I'd be interested to know what results you get!! :D 

Edited by Robinski
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Oooh, I'll play. I'm sure mine will be high, because I have purposefully made S more wishy washy than I would normally write a character.

 

maybe - 67; perhaps - 55; possibl - 17; could - 417; and '?' - 712   N = 88,460

U=1.03 (assuming I did the math right)

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Nice formula @Robinski!

I won't post now, as I recovering from being a panelist at ConGregate (I might have gotten asked back already??), but I've used the trial version of ProWritingAid before, and it does something very similar in the complete breakdown. It finds all the vague words for you and gives some output index similar to what you describe.

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So I have a question. How does the 'Creators Corner' work with RE? It looks like CC was started for fan fiction, but a lot people are talking about original works over there, too. Are they are kind of spawning RE 2.0? 

 

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3 hours ago, kais said:

So I have a question. How does the 'Creators Corner' work with RE? It looks like CC was started for fan fiction, but a lot people are talking about original works over there, too. Are they are kind of spawning RE 2.0? 

Yeah, good question. I've stuck my nose in there, but I've never been quite sure what the lay of the land was. I'll need to take another look.

Thanks for trying the formula. The way it's set up does not seem to produce a great range of results, probably because I haven't really thought it all the way through, but your 1.03 is pretty much half way between the first two results. The answer I'm sort of expecting is that my characters don't ask enough questions, that they don't inquire enough, asking question to prompt the reader, or to confirm the readers own questioning.

I've edited above to show another significant figure (which I should have done first time, given the scale of the results). Rounding made the TMM result up to 0.9 (should be 0.89), and Brandon's up too, which comes out at 1.09. Your 1.03 looks good in comparison! 

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8 hours ago, Mandamon said:

I might have gotten asked back already

This is really exciting, well done! I know you're pushing towards self-publishing SoD. Have you given any consideration to looking for an agent / publisher at this point? Or are you fully committed to the self-pub route? There are a lot of people, I think, who still don't see it as an option for them. Just curious. 

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Posted (edited)

Oh nice! The world could do with more data production.

My formula result for Dreamt and Lost is as follows:

U = 100 * (8+1+0+65+(0.5*158)) / 28524

0.53

Wait, that doesn't feel quite right. I don't use the words "possibly" or "possible"? I regularly say those words aloud.

Double checked. I guess not. I do use the word "probably" a handful of times.

Also, the word "maybe" never appeared more than once in a chapter, except for one recent instance where a character had a habit of speaking like a broken mirror.

I have the data necessary to do this formula for The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon, which has a tone that I think is similar to mine despite having a different point of view, so I'll also run that below:

U = 100 * (57 + 8 + 23 + 410 + (0.5*550)) / 104160

0.74

Notably, 19 out of the 23 uses of "possibl" were the word "impossible" or "impossibly". It doesn't make a big difference in the U, but it caught my attention.

Do different story tones make a huge difference in the use of these words? Do the stories I like to read have similar scores? I wish I had more sources to try this out on. It's a fun set of ideas!

Edited by Vreeah
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6 hours ago, Robinski said:

This is really exciting, well done! I know you're pushing towards self-publishing SoD. Have you given any consideration to looking for an agent / publisher at this point? Or are you fully committed to the self-pub route? There are a lot of people, I think, who still don't see it as an option for them. Just curious. 

I've got Fruits out to agents, and I'm going to submit it today to a small publisher I met at the con. Self-Pub is a strange animal, I've found. if you're good at researching or marketing, or happen to hit something just right, you may be able to break in. Otherwise it's a slog until you have a critical mass of books, if then.

However, I've heard that more big publishers are doing the "throw against a wall and see what sticks" philosophy these days. So if you're one of the 30 traditionally published authors in the latest breakout crowd that didn't happen to make it big at Tor or Orbit, or Baen, or wherever, you might be just as bad off in terms of selling. A lot of traditional authors are having to do a lot more of their own marketing anyway, and if I have to do that, I might as well self-pub.

That's why I'm interested to see what will happen with the kickstarter for SoD. If I can pay off my publishing costs, then everything after is profit. By the way, if anyone wants to take a look at the preview, it's here! Let me know what you think!

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1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

Let me know what you think!

Very cool - and nicely done! :) 

I was prompted to ask the question above because I'm turning my mind to submission (like I'm anywhere near ready, pah!), and starting my publishing research at least, in parallel with editing TMM. It is at once fascinating, intimidating and down right depressing to wade through authors, publishers and submission guidelines, but hey-ho, comes with the territory!

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10 minutes ago, Robinski said:

It is at once fascinating, intimidating and down right depressing to wade through authors, publishers and submission guidelines,

Yep, pretty much. 

Keep a record of who you look up, so you don't have to do it again! I have a giant spreadsheet with who I've submitted what book to when, basic guidelines, and what the response was. 

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50 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

I have a giant spreadsheet

I also have a spreadsheet!!! It's not massive yet, but it's ten times bigger than it was on Friday. I set it up before but really only headings, now I'm putting in the hard yards to populate the bejesus out of it. You and @kais are on there, of course, as my famous published friends :D 

I'm trying to share my time between research and editing TMM v2.0. I'm signed up to Submission Grinder too, which is super helpful. It's almost too much information. Certainly at this point for me.

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Throwing in my two cents as it were.

You all know I have a publisher (small press), and courted agents for a while. I almost went with an agent, then decided to go direct to publisher. With TWD I am going to try the agent route just for comparison. 

Subbing to agents versus subbing to publishers--it's basically the same process but you shouldn't really do it simultaneously, because an agent will do a lot of work on your manuscript before taking it out on sub, and you don't want to have closed any doors for them on your own (by like, say, subbing to Angry Robot's open door and getting rejected, which means your agent can't then sub your super shiny manuscript to them, later). 

Finding the right match is critical, and once I found #MSWL on Twitter, my response rate jumped to like 50% because I was able to directly target people who wanted what I had RIGHT NOW. So I really recommend browsing that feed once per day. Of course, your query letter is super important, important enough that you might want to sub it though the forum here several times to get it all spiffed up before subbing.
 

Also note that it takes literally years to get anywhere with agents/publishers, unless you are The Next Great Thing. Minimum a year, so don't get discouraged. A lot of that time is working on edits that you get back from agents (who don't want to sign you, but have suggestions). This is why you only sub to like 5-10 agents at a time, because if you do get feedback you'll want to incorporate it into your draft before subbing again. This way, your book gets better and better, and you slowly get more and more feedback, and eventually you hit the jackpot. But damnation, is it tedious!

The best thing you can do, too, is make sure your first chapter is OUTSTANDING, and that your first fifty are amazing as well. So much will judged on just those!
 

And if anyone has any nitpicky questions, please don't hesitate to ask. Let's talk publishing!

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31 minutes ago, kais said:

you might want to sub it though the forum here several times

Thanks, Kais - yes, I will definitely want to do this. The beauty is that I have no real expectations. I want to try it, but I won't be on the edge of my seat. Just as well!!

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On 7/16/2017 at 9:46 PM, kais said:

So I have a question. How does the 'Creators Corner' work with RE? It looks like CC was started for fan fiction, but a lot people are talking about original works over there, too. Are they are kind of spawning RE 2.0? 

 

I jumped in there (before I knew RE was a thing) for feedback on my story's magic system because where better to get feedback for something like that than a Brandon Sanderson fan site? I imagine most of my efforts will turn to the RE forum since I've worked through most of the kinks of that system and I have the skeleton of a story to use it in.

Also, all of this week's submissions are motivating me to finally finish this outline and maybe take a crack at actually wading into the story proper.

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Why, hello there! *waves*

It's been a heck of a long time since I've been on the forums. Just wanted to stop by to say hello, and mention that I've loved all of the submissions I've read over the last year+. I haven't been able to give critiques, but I trust that will change shortly. I also hope to start submitting the newest draft of my novel, Broken Universe, toward the end of the year. I incorporated many changes and suggestions the group offered way back when. I really appreciate the help and advice.

Have a great weekend, all! 

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Glad to see you again, @Marci!

 

Also, random achievement go!

I just noticed on my "words written" spreadsheet, where I keep track of all my writing, that I crossed over a million words written on June 28th! It's got a lot of estimates in it, and I certainly haven't recorded all the words I've written, but I'll take it!

I think that's when all the publishers buy your books and give you millions of dollars. Right?

...

Right?

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1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

I think that's when all the publishers buy your books and give you millions of dollars. Right?

Yes. In the same way that this is also true. Live the dream, friend. 

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All of these interesting submissions are really lighting a fire under me and I think I'm going to try to have something ready for the submission date after next. No promises, but I'm going to give it my all.

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7 hours ago, Marci said:

I also hope to start submitting the newest draft of my novel, Broken Universe, toward the end of the year.

Now I'm excited :D

Welcome sort of back!!

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Posted (edited)

5 hours ago, Mandamon said:

I think that's when all the publishers buy your books and give you millions of dollars. Right?

Yay, well done, but no, I'm afraid not - well, it didn't happen for me :(  I guess maybe you have to submit too?

Edited by Robinski
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2 hours ago, Yuoaman said:

All of these interesting submissions are really lighting a fire under me and I think I'm going to try to have something ready for the submission date after next. No promises, but I'm going to give it my all.

Excellent!! Setting people on fire is definitely part of our remit here at RE!!! 

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15 hours ago, kais said:

Yes. In the same way that this is also true. Live the dream, friend. 

I need a unicorn...

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