9 practical tips from WD how many do you agree with ?

Here's the place to share a writing or marketing tip you've used successfully and want to pass along.
Pat James
Private E-2
 
Posts: 68
Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:50 pm

9 practical tips from WD how many do you agree with ?

Postby Pat James » Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:25 pm

http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/9-practical-tricks-for-writing-your-first-novel

An interesting list. I agree with a few and reject a few; unsure about the rest.

1
Get to the end of the story

One of the biggest mistakes I made writing my first novel was spending too much time polishing the language before I understood the story’s arc. I didn’t know if the words and sentences I was massaging supported the story, because I had no idea how it ended. I finally made a huge poster that read: “GET TO THE END OF THE STORY” and taped it to the wall behind my computer. This simple trick helped me push forward to the end.

2. Put the manuscript away for awhile and write something else

see the link for all the deleted text

3. Set a timer for forty-five minutes, then take a fifteen minute break

5. Keep a poem in progress on your desktop

6. Organize a self-styled writing retreat

7. Read other novels, not short stories

8. Write 1,200 pages to get 300

9. Find three trusted readers, not just one
Last edited by Pat James on Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
ostarella
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 671
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:51 am

Re: 9 practical tips from WD how many do you agree with ?

Postby ostarella » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:56 pm

[quote="Pat James"]http://www.writersdigest.com/forum/posting.php?mode=post&f=7[/quote]


----- That link didn't work for me. Kept going to a "post response" page. ??


[quote="Pat James"]1
Get to the end of the story

One of the biggest mistakes I made writing my first novel was spending too much time polishing the language before I understood the story’s arc. I didn’t know if the words and sentences I was massaging supported the story, because I had no idea how it ended. I finally made a huge poster that read: “GET TO THE END OF THE STORY” and taped it to the wall behind my computer. This simple trick helped me push forward to the end.[/quote]


----- I always get to the end of the story, and I always edit it as I'm writing. Never had any problem with that, so while I agree one needs to finish what they start, the way one does that is up to the writer.


[quote="Pat James"]2. Put the manuscript away for awhile and write something else [/quote]


----- Is that during the writing or after it's completed? Personally, I'll take a short break at times (especially when things in the story get really intense) and write something short; I sometimes let a finished piece sit for a bit before polishing, but typically it's already been edited and beta'd along the way, so it's mainly checking for typos.


[quote="Pat James"]3. Set a timer for forty-five minutes, then take a fifteen minute break[/quote]


----- Don't see the point of that - when you're on a roll, why quit?


[quote="Pat James"]7. Read other novels, not short stories[/quote]


----- I'll read anything - although I try to stay away from the genre I'm writing in, just to reduce the risk of "contamination". :)


[quote="Pat James"]8. Write 1,200 pages to get 300[/quote]


----- Why?


[quote="Pat James"]9. Find three trusted readers, not just one[/quote]


----- Yeah, you don't want to rely on just one POV, and it helps, too, if 2-3 of them mention the same thing, then you know it probably needs fixing.

Pat James
Private E-2
 
Posts: 68
Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:50 pm

Re: 9 practical tips from WD how many do you agree with ?

Postby Pat James » Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:38 pm

That is weird
I am sure I copied the link from where I read it.

Let me try to track it down again.

If chrome isn't messing with me this should work.
http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/9-practical-tricks-for-writing-your-first-novel

User avatar
ostarella
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 671
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:51 am

Re: 9 practical tips from WD how many do you agree with ?

Postby ostarella » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:04 pm

Ah yes, that works now. :)

User avatar
ostarella
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 671
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:51 am

Re: 9 practical tips from WD how many do you agree with ?

Postby ostarella » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:17 pm

Missed #4. "Only set writing goals that are completely within your control

"Some writers set daily word count or page goals; I find it simpler to commit to the amount of time I spend writing every day. If I get interrupted by my kids, I can always make the hours up at night when they’re asleep. I set a goal of three writing hours (45 minutes on, 15 minutes off) per day, five days a week. I keep track of the hours on a log next to my desk, and when I reach fifteen, I’ve met my goal."


That's one I completely agree with. Whether it's a set amount of time or a set number of words/pages, you have to set some sort of goal each day - at least until you develop the habit of writing. And that's the real trick, developing the HABIT. It's easy to write when you're excited about what's happening in the story - but then you hit those parts (and there will be many) where the work of writing comes in. Far too easy to put it off, blame it on writer's block, go do something else - and never get back to it. But if you set a goal and stick to it, every single day, at some point you can't not write to that goal. It's just what you do, like brushing your teeth.

Then, of course, after you've been writing for some time, the habit is ingrained enough that you can take the occasional 'vacation' - you set a specific time when you will start writing again and the habit allows you to fall back into it. Of course, if you're like most writers, you'll be writing before that deadline, but the habit's still there to fall back into.

Pat James
Private E-2
 
Posts: 68
Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:50 pm

Re: 9 practical tips from WD how many do you agree with ?

Postby Pat James » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:47 pm

[quote="ostarella"]Missed #4. "Only set writing goals that are completely within your control

"Some writers set daily word count or page goals; I find it simpler to commit to the amount of time I spend writing every day. If I get interrupted by my kids, I can always make the hours up at night when they’re asleep. I set a goal of three writing hours (45 minutes on, 15 minutes off) per day, five days a week. I keep track of the hours on a log next to my desk, and when I reach fifteen, I’ve met my goal."


That's one I completely agree with. Whether it's a set amount of time or a set number of words/pages, you have to set some sort of goal each day - at least until you develop the habit of writing. And that's the real trick, developing the HABIT. It's easy to write when you're excited about what's happening in the story - but then you hit those parts (and there will be many) where the work of writing comes in. Far too easy to put it off, blame it on writer's block, go do something else - and never get back to it. But if you set a goal and stick to it, every single day, at some point you can't not write to that goal. It's just what you do, like brushing your teeth.

Then, of course, after you've been writing for some time, the habit is ingrained enough that you can take the occasional 'vacation' - you set a specific time when you will start writing again and the habit allows you to fall back into it. Of course, if you're like most writers, you'll be writing before that deadline, but the habit's still there to fall back into.[/quote]
===========

I don't do goals. I do what bike riders do. They listen to their body. Some days they work harder. Others they take it easy.
But they do ride unless they are sick. I would do the same with respect to writing efforts. Depends how I feel. And the external situation like is AGT on TV tonight or are the kids sick and need help or whatever.

Pat James
Private E-2
 
Posts: 68
Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:50 pm

Re: 9 practical tips from WD how many do you agree with ?

Postby Pat James » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:51 pm

[quote="ostarella"]

[quote="Pat James"]1
Get to the end of the story

One of the biggest mistakes I made writing my first novel was spending too much time polishing the language before I understood the story’s arc. I didn’t know if the words and sentences I was massaging supported the story, because I had no idea how it ended. I finally made a huge poster that read: “GET TO THE END OF THE STORY” and taped it to the wall behind my computer. This simple trick helped me push forward to the end.[/quote]


----- I always get to the end of the story, and I always edit it as I'm writing. Never had any problem with that, so while I agree one needs to finish what they start, the way one does that is up to the writer.
[/quote]


I would rather finish the story. I can edit more efficiently at the end when I do it all at once.

I think the point the article made is that most people end up revising or discarding some work before they get finished so that editing those parts would have been a waste. Planners who know the entire trope may not have problems. Pantsers feeling their way to the end of the story may make wrong turns and write themselves into a box canyon to mix metaphors.
Last edited by Pat James on Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Pat James
Private E-2
 
Posts: 68
Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:50 pm

Re: 9 practical tips from WD how many do you agree with ?

Postby Pat James » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:53 pm

[quote=" ]3. Set a timer for forty-five minutes, then take a fifteen minute break

----- Don't see the point of that - when you're on a roll, why quit?[/quote]

That one was one that was strange and did not seem to have a reason behind it.

Pat James
Private E-2
 
Posts: 68
Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:50 pm

Re: 9 practical tips from WD how many do you agree with ?

Postby Pat James » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:57 pm

[quote="Pat James"]8. Write 1,200 pages to get 300[/quote]


----- Why?


I am guessing it is to edit it down because they did not have a plan and just kept writing and writing.
People tend to write more than is needed. But 4x seems a bit excessive.

I would expect that a typical mss could be cut 20% by a good editor while making it better and not losing anything important.

Or it may be the author of that WD tips has to do that to get enough material to use to find a good story in it.

Agree that was an odd item to tell writers to do.

User avatar
ostarella
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 671
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:51 am

Re: 9 practical tips from WD how many do you agree with ?

Postby ostarella » Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:06 am

[quote="Pat James"]
I think the point the article made is that most people end up revising or discarding some work before they get finished so that editing those parts would have been a waste. Planners who know the entire trope may not have problems. Pantsers feeling their way to the end of the story may make wrong turns and write themselves into a box canyon to mix metaphors.[/quote]


Well, I've known a lot of planners (including beta'ing for a couple trade published ones) and even though their method didn't change, some of their books needed a lot of revision and others were basically ready to go. And since not all pantsers "feel their way" through stories, they don't necessarily have a lot of "waste" when their book is finished either. But again, some of their books needed a lot of revision and others were basically ready to go. So sure, some people will have a lot of editing and revising to do and others won't, but - and we've had this discussion ad nauseum - it's not because of planning versus pantsing. Nor is it WHEN they edit the book, but HOW WELL they edit it.

Next

Return to Tips and Advice

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests