Old Dog, New Tricks

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Plaidman
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Old Dog, New Tricks

Postby Plaidman » Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:23 am

Okay, so I'm not that old. ;)

I am, however, not a young man by any means. I am in my mid forties. I am also married with two kids (one finishing high school and one finishing college). I work full time and try to spend time with my family when I can.

I enjoy reading and have for many years. I read a decent variety of genres, anything from historical fiction to fantasy to hard science fiction. I haven't gotten into much poetry reading though. But, it is one of those things in the back of my mind that I think I should try. I've also been known to read historical non-fiction for enjoyment. (Sick I know, but there it is.) I find it very interesting.

Am I a writer? No. But, after years of reading, I'm feeling the need to create some written works of my own. That means I am just taking the first baby steps on the path to being a writer.

I am here to find advice on getting started. After I get comfortable with the idea of posting something I have written, some constructive criticism and suggestions would be welcome. Hopefully I will get to that comfort level in the near future.

Pat James
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Re: Old Dog, New Tricks

Postby Pat James » Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:55 am

Writers need thick shells and must be able to handle rejection and criticism without taking it personally.

Try writing something small just to get started. Letters to the editor are good. They have to be short to get accepted.
They force you to organise your thoughts to prove your point quickly in a way the readers can grasp it easily.

Is there any local issue you care about? Then write that letter!

If you are comfortable doing that then move up to trying op-eds. There are sites that teach you how to submit successfully.
Or if you are into fiction then start doing short stories. When you are proficient then consider moving up to something longer like a novel.

Historical non fiction is NOT sick. I read dozens of books about spies and secret messages during ww2.
The only history book I ever liked was by David Kahn on the history of codes and ciphers.

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ostarella
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Re: Old Dog, New Tricks

Postby ostarella » Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:10 pm

[quote="Plaidman"]
Am I a writer? No. But, after years of reading, I'm feeling the need to create some written works of my own. That means I am just taking the first baby steps on the path to being a writer.

I am here to find advice on getting started. After I get comfortable with the idea of posting something I have written, some constructive criticism and suggestions would be welcome. Hopefully I will get to that comfort level in the near future.[/quote]


Are you interested in fiction or nonfiction - or both? If fiction, is there a particular genre you like more than the others? I'm also an eclectic reader, but I have my favorite genre and that's typically what I prefer to write as well.

As to getting started - well, if you know grammar and spelling, and you've read a lot of books, you know what you need to to get started. Tell me a story. Don't worry about a Pulitzer Prize or if it's only fit for the bottom of the bird cage. Just tell a story. Post a bit of it here, get some comments - then write another one. Then another. Doesn't matter how long or how short - get your feet wet. Go wading. Learn to float. Then take a swim. The more you write, the more you learn about writing and about you as a writer.

And have fun. Gotta have fun - especially when you learn how much darn work is involved! :lol:
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Plaidman
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Re: Old Dog, New Tricks

Postby Plaidman » Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:02 am

Hello Pat James!

Thanks for the tips. I think my interest is mainly in writing fiction. So short stories may be a good starting point. One of my favorite authors is Ray Bradbury. He writes some fantastic short fiction in multiple genres. His novels aren't too shabby either. ;)

I'm glad to know I'm not the only history geek here. My preferred historical period is from the mi 1800's to the mid 1900's. I find reading about the European portion of WW2 especially interesting.

Plaidman
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Re: Old Dog, New Tricks

Postby Plaidman » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:03 am

Greetings Ostarella

Thanks for the suggestions and encouragement.

-Ostarella-
"Are you interested in fiction or nonfiction - or both? If fiction, is there a particular genre you like more than the others? I'm also an eclectic reader, but I have my favorite genre and that's typically what I prefer to write as well."

I am interested in both, but read more more fiction than nonfiction. And, my tendencies lean more toward fantasy or mystery. So, one of those (or a combination of them) may be a good genre to begin trying to write.

As an eclectic reader, I have a bit of a problem. I am also a very moody and somewhat indecisive reader. Sometimes it can take a couple days for me to nail down what my reading mood is and select a book. During that time, I may actually start a couple books but decide they aren't what I'm in the mood for. That doesn't mean I won't ever read those books. It just means I'm just not into them at that time. It can get a bit frustrating at times. My wife has quit trying to suggest books for me because of this.

-Ostarella-
"As to getting started - well, if you know grammar and spelling, and you've read a lot of books, you know what you need to to get started."

I think I have a decent grasp of grammar and spelling, it appears the "tool box" should be ready to go.

-Ostarella-
"Tell me a story. Don't worry about a Pulitzer Prize or if it's only fit for the bottom of the bird cage. Just tell a story. Post a bit of it here, get some comments - then write another one. Then another. Doesn't matter how long or how short - get your feet wet. Go wading. Learn to float. Then take a swim. The more you write, the more you learn about writing and about you as a writer."

I believe my biggest obstacle at this point is simply fear. I have a lot of anxiety about starting. I think I may be too worried about whether or not I will be good at writing. I like the idea of "Tell me a story." It may help me to focus on simply telling a person a story. If I focus on that, maybe I can push back the anxieties of "Can I tell a good story?", "Will I ever get published?" or "Will people like it?"

Again, thanks for the advice and encouragement.

Pat James
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Re: Old Dog, New Tricks

Postby Pat James » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:45 am

[quote="Plaidman"]Hello Pat James!

Thanks for the tips. I think my interest is mainly in writing fiction. So short stories may be a good starting point. One of my favorite authors is Ray Bradbury. He writes some fantastic short fiction in multiple genres. His novels aren't too shabby either. ;)

I'm glad to know I'm not the only history geek here. My preferred historical period is from the mi 1800's to the mid 1900's. I find reading about the European portion of WW2 especially interesting.[/quote]
==========

I liked Bradbury and Asimov and some other names I can't recall now. But that was a long time ago and my interests have changed.
I do think short stories would be a better starting point until you have exercised your writing muscles and built them up so you can lift the weight of doing a novel without any problems.

Plaidman
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Re: Old Dog, New Tricks

Postby Plaidman » Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:15 am

"I do think short stories would be a better starting point until you have exercised your writing muscles and built them up so you can lift the weight of doing a novel without any problems."

I think that is probably a very wise suggestion.

Thank you!


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