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

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

Postby Pat James » Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:48 am

[quote="ostarella"][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.[/quote]


No method is foolproof nor perfect. The lady who wrote the article was a development editor and she said in her experience they had to throw away a lot because thing did not fit together well when they came to her with their mss to review.

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

Postby T.A.Rodgers » Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:47 pm

Even a plotter can write themselves into a corner. As you write a scene or chapter the creativity in your mind takes over and as with most of the authors I know that plot, they deviate from their outline. That's why most if not all fiction authors that outline will tell you to never consider your outline the law but rather a guideline that changes as the story develops.

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

Postby Pat James » Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:23 pm

[quote="T.A.Rodgers"]Even a plotter can write themselves into a corner. As you write a scene or chapter the creativity in your mind takes over and as with most of the authors I know that plot, they deviate from their outline. That's why most if not all fiction authors that outline will tell you to never consider your outline the law but rather a guideline that changes as the story develops.[/quote]
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That should never happen. They may get into a corner with some notecards that need to be reshuffled, holes filled in, cockroach races deleted, but they will be able to fix that before they write a bunch of verbiage that needs to be tossed or revised.

And if your 'outline' is just a list of scenes with phrases to remind you of what they are supposed to do then deviating is the norm. But those should be minor and improve the story without wasting effort.

There are levels of creativity. First you should get the story right with all the scenes lined up ready to flow from start to finish.
Then you can be creative in how you write each scene without distractions like trying to make sure the scenes fit together right. You already know they flow smoothly because you focused on getting them right before you write word one.

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

Postby ostarella » Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:00 pm

[quote="Pat James"]There are levels of creativity. First you should get the story right with all the scenes lined up ready to flow from start to finish.
Then you can be creative in how you write each scene without distractions like trying to make sure the scenes fit together right. You already know they flow smoothly because you focused on getting them right before you write word one.[/quote]

That sounds too much like "fill in the blank" writing for me. Probably why planning my writing bores me. Paint in my corners dries really fast - typically about as fast as a slow cup of coffee and a walk around the yard. :)

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

Postby Pat James » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:54 am

[quote="ostarella"][quote="Pat James"]There are levels of creativity. First you should get the story right with all the scenes lined up ready to flow from start to finish.
Then you can be creative in how you write each scene without distractions like trying to make sure the scenes fit together right. You already know they flow smoothly because you focused on getting them right before you write word one.[/quote]

That sounds too much like "fill in the blank" writing for me. Probably why planning my writing bores me. Paint in my corners dries really fast - typically about as fast as a slow cup of coffee and a walk around the yard. :)[/quote]========
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Not at all fill in the blank, unless you think your creating the right scenes is the same as filling them in.
The creativity is all there with you limning your own story arc that flows well first so you keep on track as you write.
Then you apply more creativity to do the scenes as you write them.

It is not a straight jacket. Adjustments and improvements always happen.
But by doing as much of the tweaking without writing reams of material saves time and effort.
When you get the story right then you can focus on the detailed writing scene by scene.

You prefer to do it all by getting down into the details and writing each scene while figuring out where the story is going.
I prefer to to see it at a higher level view and ensure the scenes fit, else I would never be able to finish the work.

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

Postby rob-lost » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:09 am

[quote="Pat James"]
You prefer to do it all by getting down into the details and writing each scene while figuring out where the story is going.
I prefer to to see it at a higher level view and ensure the scenes fit, else I would never be able to finish the work.[/quote]
Ostarella can speak for herself, but that's not how I read what she posted. I think her method still gives her permission (so to speak) to see the overall picture.She just wants the story to build itself.

Still, as you acknowledged, it's her way.
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Re: 9 practical tips from WD how many do you agree with ?

Postby ostarella » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:50 am

[quote="Pat James"]
You prefer to do it all by getting down into the details and writing each scene while figuring out where the story is going.
I prefer to to see it at a higher level view and ensure the scenes fit, else I would never be able to finish the work.[/quote]

The "prefer" is the key - writers prefer methods that work best for them. You have your way of working, I have mine, Rob has his, pls has his, oldtimer has hers. There's really no "should" way for all writers.

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

Postby Pat James » Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:04 am

[quote="ostarella"][quote="Pat James"]
You prefer to do it all by getting down into the details and writing each scene while figuring out where the story is going.
I prefer to to see it at a higher level view and ensure the scenes fit, else I would never be able to finish the work.[/quote]

The "prefer" is the key - writers prefer methods that work best for them. You have your way of working, I have mine, Rob has his, pls has his, oldtimer has hers. There's really no "should" way for all writers.[/quote]
=======

There is no must use method for all writers of fiction. If you can finish a good novel then that was a good method.
But, if you could finish more novels faster better easier would not that be a better method?
Could there be a method that is better for a given writer, or is what they prefer always the actual best possible?
Whether to explore other options is something any writer has to decide for themselves.

There virtually is a should for non fiction and business writing. The difference is constraints of deadlines and word count as well as audience , which require an approach that results in good enough product while meeting those constraints. Business does not have the luxury of degrees of freedom that novelists have.

From all my research and observation there is a best way for most people, including fiction but especially for non fiction, if you can only have one way that schools use to teach writing. Unfortunately ONE SIZE FITS NOBODY.

Clearly folks do not all agree. But I have not seen any verifiable proof that would convince me that what I have seen and experienced is wrong.
And I have no way to disprove what others claim to have observed.

However, I have watched students struggle to write when I taught at the uni. And the problems with writing persisted for decades.
They need something better than what we have been using to teach them how to write. At least in the few elhis and 4 unis that I was involved with.

Is there some way we can determine how a given student would best learn how to write and offer them different classes?
Is there a curriculum that could work for all types of learners in the same class?

What is the best way to teach writing to students? That is the question.
The answer has to be a curriculum or course guide that allows an instructor to succeed in teaching writing.

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

Postby Oldtimer » Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:54 am

You amaze me, Pat James.
In your first post, just a week ago, you wrote "I am new at writing and hope to write a novel during nano. Hope to meet new friends here and learn some tips to help write".
60 posts later you are confident enough to offer views on the best way of teaching writing.
Boy, you learn quickly.
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Re: 9 practical tips from WD how many do you agree with ?

Postby ostarella » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:34 pm

[quote="Pat James"]There is no must use method for all writers of fiction. If you can finish a good novel then that was a good method.
But, if you could finish more novels faster better easier would not that be a better method?
Could there be a method that is better for a given writer, or is what they prefer always the actual best possible?
Whether to explore other options is something any writer has to decide for themselves.[/quote]


Which is what many of us have been saying all along.


[quote="Pat James"]From all my research and observation there is a best way for most people, including fiction but especially for non fiction, if you can only have one way that schools use to teach writing. Unfortunately ONE SIZE FITS NOBODY.
Clearly folks do not all agree. But I have not seen any verifiable proof that would convince me that what I have seen and experienced is wrong.
And I have no way to disprove what others claim to have observed. [/quote]


I don't think anyone here has disagreed that "one size fits nobody". Where it starts getting fuzzy is when one states that "most" would benefit from "one size", and the reason for that is there really is no proof that any method benefits most writers. There is anecdotal evidence for many methods, but that really only proves that some people talk about their methods and others don't.


[quote="Pat James"]Is there some way we can determine how a given student would best learn how to write and offer them different classes?
Is there a curriculum that could work for all types of learners in the same class?
What is the best way to teach writing to students? That is the question.
The answer has to be a curriculum or course guide that allows an instructor to succeed in teaching writing.[/quote]


The best way to teach creative writing (ie, creative non-fiction and/or fiction) is for the teacher to be flexible. One cannot teach a group to write. One has to teach each student how to find their story and get it out. That means being able to help the student who needs to plan find the best way to plan for them. It also means helping the student who doesn't need to plan how to build the story as they go. It means being open to ALL methods and being cognizant of all the different ways these methods can be tweaked and combined so the student ends up with the story they want.

Course guide? Well, one course/section could be to teach about the various methods, with open discussions about the pros and cons and how one could maneuver those methods to work best for each student. But this would mean that the teacher CANNOT be an advocate of any particular method.

Second course/section - story-telling. Method is meaningless if students don't understand how to tell a story. Work on characterization, plot (not "plotting" but "plot"), description, pacing, etc.

A third course/section could then expand on the first two by setting up a subject for the students to write about, using a particular method and allowing them to tweak that method per the earlier discussions. Then turn around and choose another subject and have them write using a different method. In other words, take away some of the "creativity" and have them actually experience different methods of writing and story-telling.

Last, let the students loose. They choose what to write about, what method to use - the whole enchilada. Then work WITH the students to find out where they need improvement, what they did well, what they might do to improve the story. They may find their issues are with method; they may find their issue is with story-telling. But this is the point where they have been taught anything they might need to know ABOUT writing, and now have to learn how THEY write. They also have to learn that how they write will change, evolve, grow. They need to embrace experimentation and change. That's the only way they won't stagnate.

But personally, I think anyone who knows SpAG and has read a lot of fiction (short and long) is more than capable of finding their own way. They will, intuitively, figure out if they work best with a plan of some sort or if they work best discovering the story as they write.

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