Monday, June 18, 2012

Writing Conversation Part 1

Someone very near and dear to me "recently" tried to respond to my post entitled "Avoidance."  He had trouble so he emailed me the response and I tried to post it.

It is a very good post with many valid points which I really should address, but I too could not post it because it exceeds the character limit of the comment section.

Because I would really like to share the concerns/suggestions and respond I am going to share the comment in this post.  I have named this post "Part 1" because I don't intend to answer his concerns in this post.  It may take several posts to answer everything and or act on some of the suggestions.  For not I'm just going to share what he wrote:

"This makes me so sad. I’d like to see you go on with your work/hobby/pastime as I think the only way to succeed in the writing business is to write all the time, just keep hammerin’ away at it until something breaks. And even if it never materializes, at least you spent time doing something that you enjoy. So never give up, even if nobody reads your work, or responds to it, do it for yourself first!

Now, for my constructive criticism:

1.      I always would have liked to become a writer as well, but I have never had a good enough idea of a story with a twist or grabber in it to be worth the time to me it would need. However, as I have an organized/logical personality, I thought the way for me (and possibly might work for you) on how to write would require an excellent idea for a story and/or character (or gang of characters) and set out at first a general outline, and then flesh out the outline into more detailed layers, and then write the various sections (chapters?) as I felt it while following the detailed outline. Then keep reworking the story and outline until a good first draft is completed. Then have a few readers/editors go over it and offer suggestions and thoughts to be incorporated as revisions, then rewrite as many times as needed until the final draft is done. The story doesn’t need to be written in order, you can write the main scenes first, and then go back and flesh out the development of the story as needed, or whatever order works best for you and the story itself. I don’t know what method you use to write but if it has been just start and then go along in a linear direction until the story is completed, maybe a change to your method might help?

2.      Most adults I know don’t read very much. Shame on them. Most adults will take care of their kids, work, maintain their homes, and finally when they have free time to relax, watch the tube, not break open a book. Even most of the guys at the firehouse, with loads of free time, will veg in front of the TV when I am kicked back somewhere reading. And, the people who do read regularly with most likely not be interested in your subject’s. I don’t know anybody who reads sci-fi or horror other than maybe you and Ryan (?). I don’t read too much sci-fi anymore (although “Game of Thrones” is the best I’ve ever read and you don’t like it much?) and I have never read Lovecraft or any of that kind of horror. So your audience is very very limited.

3.      If you do write sci-fi, I wouldn’t be too concerned with making the science too real, that’s why it’s called fiction, make it up. Sometimes the made up science can be the real driving force in the story. Or take “Starship Troopers”, really has no science, just a good story with good characters

4.      I’d suggest that you write about something you are extremely familiar with, maybe scouts or military, and keep it in the present day. Make up and develop a couple of interesting characters, come up with a plot twist that takes the reader in a direction they didn’t expect. If you get something good going, then maybe modify it into the future or into a alien world (Boy Scout camping trip in the future to an unexplored planet?). Or add the horror twist. Or both. Also telling the story non-linear might be a good gimmick (the movie “Pulp Fiction” or “Reservoir Dogs” style), an outline help’s this style to work. I think you’ll really need a twist or gimmick…

5.      KISS – Keep it simple stupid. You seem to spend a lot of time on detail and historical background, like you’re making a complete role-playing game world/universe. I’d suggest keeping your writing short and simple for now, especially if the story is in a genre that is not interesting to the reader. I would be more likely to read something that I’m not very interested in if it was short. Also, there are many very fine stores that are short (Shane, Lord of the Flies, Of Mice and Men, most of Howards “Conan” stuff, ect.). I think a very good example of what I’m driving at is “Beau Geste” by P.C. Wren. If you haven’t read this book, look it up and give it a go. It’s pretty short, a very easy read, but well written, good plot twists, and with interlocking characters in a unexpected fashion. I think it was written in a society and place that the author knew very well. Very much KISS in my opinion. One of my favorites. By the way, don’t read the Wikipedia or other reviews, they have spoilers in them. Just read the book first.

6.      If you do want to create a complete world/universe with loads of detail, maybe you’re pursuing the wrong avenue. How about finding some players and you become the “DM” of your own designed and flushed out world. I bet you can find players on the internet, and there are numerous game systems already made that you could use. Keep notes on the adventures that you run, and then turn them into written sci-fi stories?

7.      Life is short, be sure to spend time doing what you love.

Good luck!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed Mike's comments. Agreed with some, not all. Most important, do what you enjoy and enjoy it while you do it. Love you.