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The Writer’s Thread – Beginners, Amateurs, Pros (Everybody’s Welcome!)

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by PeterG, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. PeterG

    PeterG Well-Known Member

    At last! Here’s the thread for anything to do with writing. Whether it’s just an idea…a glimmer in your eye, or something you do just every now and then… Or something you do for a living, this thread is for all of us!

    A few thoughts and then a request for help.

    So we’re all writers, write (oops…right)? We’re on a message board, we write all the time! But who’s interested in going beyond FSU? Or who has 20 published novels under their belt? (Time to stop lurking behind that FSU pseudonym, you bestsellering author, you!)

    As for me, I’ve always thought about writing, and recently I’ve wondered about (amateur) film-making. Which is tough to do without a script. I have come up with some ideas, but the whole dialogue thing…so much tougher than I ever realized!

    With my latest idea, I know the storyline and even the scenes that will make up the film. But I got stuck with the dialogue, so I wrote the story as fiction and it went quite easily. I wrote the seven page (single-spaced) story over the last two days. It’s a first draft, so there are lots of changes to be made, but I think it’s pretty much where I want to be. I don’t expect a lot of editing to happen. But now I need to adapt it into a script…with the dreaded dialogue...

    So here’s where my request comes in. I am wondering if people can recommend a site where one can post their work and have others critique it. I briefly looked at a few sites after googling “amateur writing”. With one site, people left comments like, “very illuminating…thank you for this work!” and “great job, (author), look forward to reading more of your work”. :yawn: (Sorry!) I want something more substantial than that. Any suggestions on good sites to post your work and get more detailed feedback?

    And to end my post, a questionnaire. Please feel free to add questions!

    1. Where are you at? Just thinking about writing? Do it occasionally for fun? Writing at an amateur level fairly regularly? Working part-time or full-time as a writer (of any type)?

    2. What kind of writing interests you? Fiction? Travel articles? Graphic novels? Biographies? Computer guides? Gardening pamphlet series? Something else?

    3. What makes you want to write/be a writer?

    4. What is your main goal concerning writing? How about other writing goals?
  2. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    I've done screenwriting as well as creative writing and attempted a novel, in addition to working as a journalist.

    I have trouble with dialogue, it's not a form of writing that comes naturally to me. In my novel attempt I came to the conclusion that I didn't know how to write fiction or incorporate dialogue - non-fiction is my milieu. But I do think that if one can write one style or genre, one should be able to write other styles or genres, though it will take time.

    Screenwriting I particularly liked and wish you best of luck with it. Sorry I can't recommend a website.
  3. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    I sometimes hang out here: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/

    They seem to have a pretty active screenwriting section of people with experience levels from beginner to pro. Maybe you'll find it helpful.

    What I haven't found is a useful forum for playwriting, which is what I was originally looking for a few years ago. So instead I'm working on a mystery novel with a theatre setting. But the plotting is killing me.
  4. kia_4EverOnIce

    kia_4EverOnIce Active Member

    1. I'm amateur writer (it's my hobby), but I suppose I have not enough "fantasy": creating a plot is always a struggle for me, so most of the time I start with two-three pages and then stop because I'm struggling with "what happens next?".
    Now, I'm trying to end a short story...

    2. I love thrillers and historic novels. Actually I'd love to write an historic story, it's also easier to have a plot there IMO (but then, since I studied history, I'll question all my sources and it'll become a thesis! :) )

    4. Main goals are to end all the things I have already started, and then I would like (actually, I have to) to improve my English writing skills (it's not my first language), so perhaps I'll try to write directly in English next time :)

    btw, great thread!
    Kasey, PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  5. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    I don't put my work on line. Besides theft it can muck with FRNASR when you do want to sell it. I try to get friends as "beta readers" (to borrow a fanfic phrase) to look at things. I'm probably going to do POD and Kindle/Nook as the Book is almost finished (FINALLY) to try and get some sales numbers to show an agent or publisher.

    I write "urban fantasy" (for lack of a better term--yes, there is magic and a vampire or two, no, no tarty twenty-something girls as leads who crawled out of chick-lit, and the vampire's not the main romantic interest, but it IS, like most urban fantasy, author provincial--yes, DC *IS* the most important city ever, why do you ask? ;) ) I also do slightly more 'traditional' vampire stuff, though they're still the 'good' guys, so to speak. Why? Dunno. I was just never happy with any vampire stories I read/watched. (Yes, I tried reading Twlight. Yes, it's totally stupid. Sloppily-written to boot.)

    Why do I write? Well, to give some perspective, the two main characters of this book (who have gone through MANY permutations until they became who they are) first appeared as the leads in a book/story/wannabe novel I started writing in 1994. (Let's just say middle schoolers shouldn't try to ape Allan Drury and leave it at that.) I started writing before that, I want to say in third grade, when I wrote what I didn't realize was a fan fic dream down (from Marguerite Henry's "Misty of Chincoteague", no less. I still have a wonderful letter the late Mrs. Henry sent me when I wrote her my first-ever piece of fan mail not long after.) I don't know WHY, I just do. I barely remember not writing. It's like reading, except I literally can't remember not being able to do that.

    Main goal? Sell. I have friends who are pros (Tim has a Hugo, even), who have always graciously treated me as such even if I don't deserve it (one sale does not count) and I'd like to earn their respect fairly. And it would be nice to be paid.
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  6. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    One sale does count, danceronice.
  7. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    Although this site deals more with queries trying to pitch a manuscript, rather than the manuscript itself, I think it's great and gives really honest advice.

    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  8. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    Not at one penny a word. It won't even count towards SFFWA membership. (Also, the magazine's now defunct.)

    However, it did give me the very professional experience of going "WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING WITH THOSE ILLUSTRATIONS?!?!" :D (Really, they weren't that bad. Just...not what I had in mind.)
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  9. Blue Bead

    Blue Bead New Member

    PeterG.....If you're interested in publication you might investigate, and become a member of Forward Motion, http://fmwriters.com/community/ as it is geared toward publication. To explore that whole site you need to become a member as very little of the forum is open for public viewing. Once you join there's a wealth of information and experienced writers/authors to help you.

    Just as a "head's up," I would be very leery of posting your written work to any open forum as doing so is considered as publication and that fact will work against you if ever you want to publish it in either the traditional media or on some for-profit cyber site. Publishers have no interest in buying and putting out books/novels from which the author has posted material to the Internet. It's viewed as a sales-killer.

    Sites such as Forward Motion have developed protected "layers" within their sites to prevent the works posted, or exchanged between email groups, from viewing by the general public. As such it is a very safe place to have your work critiqued.
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  10. PeterG

    PeterG Well-Known Member

    I'm finally getting around to checking out the links that people have provided (much thanks)! And realized I didn't answer my own questionnaire, so here goes:

    1. I'm just below the amateur level, I'd say. :) I'm not really a writer, just a wannabe. I used to write articles for a community newspaper many, many years ago, and once had a short story publishing in a little-known magazine. Only recently have I thought about writing again.

    2. My main interest at this time is script-writing. And as I mentioned in my first post, I ended up writing a short story as dialogue was not coming to me at all! I only have one full-length film idea at this time. And just one short-film idea and a handful of individual scenes (which will become monologues, I expect/hope).

    3. The reason I'm wanting to write is because I want to make short films out of my ideas. I honestly don't know if I'm more interested in writing, directing, or the whole project (which I guess is producing).

    4. My only goal around writing is to get some of my work filmed and posted on youtube. And see what people think of it. I don't care about making money or becoming famous. But I would like people to enjoy my work. I'm thinking that if people like my short films, then maybe I will find other people to help me make the full-length film...that I have yet to write. Just thinking about the short film I've (semi-)written is a little overwhelming in that I'm still working on the script and thinking about directing....plus locations, costumes, the filming itself and then the editing. That's a lot for one person! So if I can do some short films and find people to work with on something bigger, that'd be great! :D
  11. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    I'd love to participate in such an endeavour, even on a short film (which is quite amount of work). I majored in film studies, went to film school for a year, and have been involved in screen-writing. Had it been possible I would have pursued a career in film (love documentaries in particular) rather than print journalism.
  12. ngcskate

    ngcskate New Member

    I really enjoy writing, but more as a personal thing than something I want to make money off of. I don't think I'm that good, although I have been told that my latest story is better than the original authors work! I write mostly - at this point - what is, I guess, defined as fanfiction. I have posted on some different fanfiction sites. http://www.fanfiction.net is one that I have posted my Twilight based writing on. I guess it is kind of teeny-fannish in a way, but it relaxes me and I do enjoy it. It's nice to hear from people that like it and to hear their feedback on what they like in particular. I love sharing it with readers or other writers, so if anyone would like to read it, I can send you a link :)
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  13. TanithandBenFan

    TanithandBenFan Author of the Ice and Edge Series

    Hey, Peter, I've been on Critique Circle for six months and have found it to be very helpful. I'm not sure if they have a dedicated section for screenplays, though.

    To answer your questions: :)

    1. I'm still at the amateur level and don't have any plans to make writing my full-time job, but I'm moving closer and closer to having a product ready for submission to publishers.

    2. Fiction is my focus. Right now, I'm totally zoned in on my work-in-progress, which is a romance centered around a female pairs skater. I posted a link on here last year to my first draft, naively thinking it was in decent shape, but I learned over the past year just how much work it needed. So, I've been writing and rewriting, and it's getting close to where I want it to be!

    3. I had to get this story out of my head and bring it to life, so the only option was to write it. :D

    4. My goal is to create a believable and emotional story that people can connect with when they read it. I also have the dream of being published and seeing my book in print. It's not about making money or being famous but realizing a dream I've had since I was a kid. :)
  14. PeterG

    PeterG Well-Known Member

    I have been going through my Mom's files since she passed away and found some of the projects she did when she went to university in the 70's to upgrade her education. She was a teacher pretty much out of high school, after going through training in "normal school". I wanted to share with you the paper I liked the most. :)

    Creative Writing Project

    Many young children judge others rather hastily by their superficial characteristics and appearance. They are often envious or strongly influenced by the children who are good-looking and well-dressed rather than by their behavior and character. They are also, at times, extremely cruel to less fortunately endowed ones. Some even abuse and dislike children who have characteristics which resemble their own faults. These children, basically, don’t really like themselves but want so badly to be liked by others. As a child I suffered from this same problem and was helped through it by some advice from my father. My intent, in writing this book, is to pass this bit of advice on to other children.

    I spent a lot of time with my Dad helping him in his General Store. One day I commented on how ugly a particular customer was and Dad told me that if I watched her and talked to her each time that she came into the store that she would become prettier each time I saw her. She did, and before long I realized that she was almost beautiful. I asked Dad how this happened? Was it magic? He replied that it was in a way – that when you first meet a person you see only the outside shell but as you get to know them better, the inside begins to show through and the outside becomes more beautiful. He warned me, too, that sometimes it worked the other way so that I should check in the mirror every so often to make sure the right kind of things were showing through.

    Many times I was sent to my room to wait for the grumpy face to change to a more pleasant one. But I also developed an interest in the “inside that showed through” on other faces. I rarely notice what a person is wearing but I can usually recognize how they feel or what kind of a mood they are in – especially children – and find it very helpful in working with them.

    In the teen-age years – a horribly self-conscious and troublesome time – Dad kept reminding me of the importance of liking “who” you see rather than “what” you see – the importance of a smile, friendliness, gentleness and pleasure rather than actual features. If that reflection never causes you to feel ashamed, you will like yourself and consequently you will like others. Look for things you like in others and use those characteristics for a model.

    I’ll admit it didn’t work all the way but it was a good guide and a constant reminder of the importance of self-respect.

    The mirror has been used in the same way by me with my own children to help them establish a set of values in judging themselves and others by “the windows of the soul” rather than by superficial appearance alone. They never (?) lie to me* because they are thoroughly convinced that I can see right inside. And I could never lie to my parents for that same reason.

    *One thing I remember about lying as a youth was being told that if I lied, I would blink...and then Mom would know I was lying. :D That seemed to work, I don't remember lying to be an option until I was in my teen years! :lol:

    Anybody else care to share something they have written, or something written by someone else that means something to you?
    gkelly, orientalplane and Kasey like this.
  15. Kasey

    Kasey Correcting President Trump's grammar on Twitter :)

    Your mom (and grandfather) were quite wise! Nice mindset to live in!
  16. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    :cry: Condolences, Peter G. So Sorry - I didn't know your mom had passed away.
    PeterG likes this.