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Author Topic: The Writing Column Q & A  (Read 5797 times)

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Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

The Writing Column Q & A
« on: May 30, 2016, 11:22:15 AM »
A thread in the style of the social games (and therefore posted there), but severely limited to the topic of writing. Passing a question on or repeating one from earlier IS allowed.

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What is your personal minimum size for story posts?

Offline Undine

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2016, 12:22:04 PM »
I don't write by post length, but usually by word count.  Normally, the smallest post I ever write is about 400 words or so.

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Are you capable of "write and release," and if so?  What is your secret?

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2016, 12:33:57 PM »
If by that you mean writing something and posting it almost immediately or in short order then yes I am.  Many of my thoughts come fully formed or develop as I write and editing and rewrite happen concurrently for short pieces.  Also, because I procrastinate I frequently have the piece written in my head and merely used the typing as a transcription process.

Do you go back, after posting, to make corrections not simply of typos or errors but also of content?

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2016, 12:54:12 PM »
Only if I am desperate, having found out that I have managed to omit something absolutely vital. Adding extra content is on the verge of malpractice in my opinion; my cowriter may already have read the post and started writing accordingly.

Where do you draw your character names from?

Offline Lapine

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2016, 01:15:17 PM »
It varies.  Sometimes a name has a specific meaning, some I just like the sound or look of, and sometimes it's for a specific purpose. 

How quickly do you generally reply to a post?

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2016, 02:05:33 PM »
My rule of thumb is that the story that have waited the longest gets replied to next. My average speed, I think, is about one post per day but there are days when I post nothing and days when I post two or even three. So with eight active stories I think my cowriters get about one reply per week provided they have at least posted once a week. However, now and then I read a new post and immediately know how to respond, and the words just overflow me and then I have to sit down and immediately hammer out that response and post it even if it's technically not that story's turn. So far this system is working for me.

How complex stories do you aim for?

Offline Belle33

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2016, 07:01:58 PM »
I'll answer for the Belle who has time to write, though I haven't seen her in a long while.  I like a story that starts out simple and grows more complex.  Something that I think is just about a boy meeting a girl but turns into an epic journey of discovery with twists and turns I didn't intend are the most fun. 

How do you balance story planning with letting the characters go in whatever directions the moments take them?

Offline CaptainErotica

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2016, 09:31:21 PM »
mostly that depends on my writing partner. I am very flexible with my writing and usually let them decide how much detail to plan out ahead of time. Personally though, I feel that my writing is better when I'm coming up with things on the fly. It gives me more freedom to adjust to any curveballs thrown my way and often times feels more natural when you go back and read the story. The key is to stay consistent though.


How do you know when your partner is truly enjoying your story or just giving lip service.

Offline Undine

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2016, 11:37:35 PM »
A:  I think part of that comes with the swiftness of the responses, though that's not full-proof.  Still, if you realize a partner is posting ICly (not OOC) everywhere but your story?  No matter what they say, that's generally a good clue you're getting lip service.  Again, that's not full-proof.  I generally try to write IC posts in the chronological order in which received, and on E I do that fairly well.  But there have been stories elsewhere, where the story is coming to an end, and I get maudlin and nostalgic and don't want it to end, and put off writing because I'm being a maudlin and nostalgic moron xD  OR, if I have a hard time writing something?  It may be because I'm just screaming inside, wanting to make it perfect but feeling like I'm just failing in every imaginable way.

Thank heaven, not everyone's as neurotic as I am ;)

And so yes, to your question Captain - in general, if a partner is posting ICly everywhere but your story?  It's a good sign that the "shiny new lovely" has probably worn off along the way.  Only dedication to going the distance on both parts gets it past that point.

Q:  Do you have a ritual for writing, actions you do or take prior to settling in to write, whether it be a specific drink, or music, or time of day, or place where you like to write?

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2016, 01:30:17 AM »
Yes. I'll listen to a particular piece of music before and during. I prefer to write early in the morning, like right now it is 1:27 am so its the perfect time. No interruptions, no noise other than the music playing.

Is it important for you to have a solid plot in mind before starting a roleplay?

Offline Lapine

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2016, 04:31:07 AM »
No, I prefer a general outline.  Half the fun for me is seeing what happens as it unfolds.  If I were writing solo, I'd need to have it plotted in more detail with the end goal in mind so I could work my way toward it.

Do you create a whole new character for each new story, or do you recycle them?

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2016, 08:02:05 AM »
Hm. All my characters are an aspect of me either I want it or not. But some have so little of me in them that it would require a DNA test to prove it. All that said, I love to make new characters as far as background goes; they have a new cultural background, a new motivation and a new past. Enough 'new' that it sends me careening though Google to get to understand them. Reusing a familiar character would mean missing out on that fun. Frankly I WOULD enjoy using an old character some time just to see how he had developed since then. The only aspect I consciously keep for all my characters is that they roughly reflect my own age and gender.

How do you keep your cowriters up to date on your status?

Offline Undine

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2016, 08:43:07 AM »
A:  For the vast majority of my writing partners, if I need to let them know my status - if I'm running behind (with my usual turn-around of about a week) or if something unexpected has come up - I PM them.  I do have an A/A thread I keep updated fairly regularly, but there are enough people who don't bother checking that, that I use the message system here on E (or on other sites).  PMs are also a rather nice way to "keep in touch," to just talk about everyday hellos, what's happening in our own lives and with our story, to plot and plan and simply chat, that's far more personal than a general A/A.  Since many of my partners eventually become friends at some point, I consider it the very least I can do to be courteous to them, and show that extra degree of care for their time and thoughts.

Q:  How much time do you devote to reading for pleasure, and do you find that has any correlation to the quality of your own writing (as I've heard many people claim)?  If so, in what way?

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2016, 09:12:13 AM »
I enjoy reading.  It's one of my favorite things to do so I give it as much time as I can.  For a while, when my eyes were too bad for me to drive I spent the commute reading on my Kindle.  I also read in bed when I can't sleep.  A couple hours a day is where I'm at right now for reading.

Several of my favorite authors are my favorites because of the quality of their writing and the style they use.  For example, Nora Roberts writes strong female and male characters that stir the imagination and the quality of her prose is clear, clean and crisp.  She has had the biggest influence on my own writing.  I also pick out things I like and admire from other authors and experiment with their styles when I write.


Question:  Do you believe in using the death of a character to solve a plot problem?

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2016, 07:02:08 AM »
I must honestly say that I can't recall killing off a character, ever. It has never even occurred to me - I guess I will never be writing for Game Of Thrones! But now that I am considering it, I think I should be braver at including death in my plots.

Question: are you good at working with multiple characters, I mean throughout the story rather than in a single scene?

Offline CaptainErotica

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2016, 07:56:01 AM »
I'd like to think so, but really the opinions that count are your audience's. For me having a few minor characters on the sides gives me an out when the post for my main characters feels too short. I can simply throw in a few more paragraphs involving the minor character. It often helps give the story more depth and realism. Our characters don't live in a vacuum. Someone is bound to see the teacher always talking to his pet student. Throw in a scene where the other students are talking about it. Now you have a. Extra layer of intensity and intrigue.

Do you find it hard to write from inside you characters head? I've found that I am generally pretty good at writing action and dialogue, but have trouble transitioning between those and internal stuff.

Offline Rhedyn

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2016, 05:34:17 PM »
Nope, I find it super easy to write from inside my character's head and I really love exploring how they are thinking and why they are doing what they are doing.

Do you find it easy to know when a story should end and do you find those endings are natural or are they forced because you are uncertain of just how it should end?

Offline Mnemosyne

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2016, 08:42:39 PM »
Endings terrify me. I don't know that I have ever gotten to a place that I felt like I would be content with it ending, which I am sure causes problems for certain people who might want to write with me but more for a one shot type thing? (( At least what is to my understanding a one shot..? Which is like a short story..? Perhaps I am wrong though... )) This is probably why if I ever were to attempt to write books... they would turn out to be a very long series. Oh but where to put the cliff hangers... that would probably be difficult for me as well. Even if I had foreseen how it might end before I began, I do not think I could keep to that ending? With partners, there are so many variables! That can change the outcome of things. You are sharing a story. You are like the life support on which that story thrives on, one can't simply pull the plug when you don't know what the story itself wants! (( I'm not completely sure this statement makes sense... it does in my brain? ))

How do you develop a story before presenting it to others?

Offline Darius

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2016, 11:04:10 PM »
I like to trust my vision. Its hard to share a story, but I've always written to please me. If others' don't get it. I like to think its just because they themselves are dim.

When you write, does your character talk to you in your head?

Offline CaptainErotica

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2016, 02:17:35 AM »
Sometimes. I've had characters where they simply refuse to talk or even act and others where I can't get them to shut up or leave me alone while in at work. They just keep bugging me, begging me to sneak home early to write their next chapter.

How do you approach writing something that you have no first hand experience with. Research helps, but how do you make it feel authentic when you have no clue what authentic is in regards to the subject?

Offline Rhedyn

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2016, 02:29:13 AM »
I try to break it down into different experiences and imagine what it would be like. For example, I have never been sky diving but one of my more adventurous characters might think that's fun so I would research general information on sky diving then break the experience down into different steps; preparation before the flight, what the flight and build up felt like, getting ready to jump, the actual jump and then the landing. Thankfully I don't usually have trouble with getting into the mindset of my characters so even though I myself would hate even the idea of skydiving when I'm imagining it from a character's point of view who wants to do it I have no trouble putting aside my dislike and seeing what they might enjoy about the experience. I find that going internal and developing my character's thought processes really helps with creating a more authentic feel to something I may not know much about too. It's amazing how much of the specifics of a field you can bypass by focusing more on how a character observes and feels about it than actually delving deep into the details of something you know nothing about  >.>

How much of the plot of a story you are writing do you like to know in advance and how much of it do you like to be a surprise?

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2016, 07:32:00 AM »
If I plan an entire story in detail ahead of writing it, I have effectively killed my own interest in writing it. But I can't just start with a couple of interesting characters either.

My main writing inspirator is J. Michael Straczynski who wrote most of Babylon 5. His plot arc model is what I always have in mind throughout the story. The model basically goes like this; you need to have one main plot line that stretches through the entire story. Then you have a number of longer subsidiary plot lines that go through a number of episodes each; conflicts, relationships, campaigns of war, such things. And finally you need the short plotlines that gets a satisfying resolve within one episode. Although a post cannot compate to an episode; instead a number of posts will combine to one event like 'the inn fight against the Rocco twins'.

The nice thing about this model is that you don't need to flesh out almost anything of this in advance. Yes, the overriding plot line needs to be clear from the start but not in detail. The longer plot lines can be made only one at at time. And the episode/event lines practically write themselves as you proceed. The tale might not end up where you plan it - but so what? There's no publishing contract waiting at the end anyway.

How much work do you normally put into creating your main character?
 

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2016, 01:15:30 AM »
A:  A fairly good amount.  I do 'recycle' characters, and that helps.  I don't like creating a character for a roleplay, and then leaving them if that roleplay ends.  My characters are like family, even if they are pains-in-the-ass sometimes.  Someone I've put effort into creating will not be left behind, I guess you could say.  Besides, the more developed a character is, the more interesting and enjoyable they are to write about, and I find my partners usually agree with that.

When I create a character from scratch, I'm often inspired by images, songs, events from my own life, or other people I know.  My characters are usually amalgams of my own personality, friends and family, and interesting traits or experiences I've read, seen, or heard about.  They grow on me, and as I mentioned, I tend to be loyal to them.



Q:  Do you world build, and if so, how do you go about it?

Offline Miscellany

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2016, 01:29:52 AM »
A: Yes !   I love to world build.    In process,  I start with a basic story concept  ;   a place.  a time.  a conflict.   From there, I build out and craft a world around the characters involved.   Supplying NPC's  or other devices,  or more than one character if it is needed.  I figure out the places these people or creatures are from, and just keep adding the layers.   The more layers, the richer the environment and the more there is is play upon and build with.

Q:  When you create a character ,  do you pack in all of the positive traits and then consider the flaws ?  -or-  Do you define the flaw and then figure for the redeeming qualities ?

Offline Undine

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2016, 08:25:37 AM »
A:  Neither, if we're discussing a main character.  I don't create characters with strong points or weak points in mind at all, but form them up in my head as people first, with a past, present and future - not necessarily a conglomeration of strengths and weaknesses (and as an aside?  I despise making detailed character sheets *ugh*)  Most of their strengths and flaws are further refined/defined by whatever history I have given them, and the context of the story.  NPCs though, are created for a specific purpose and are often at least a touch more two-dimensional as far as strengths/flaws.

Q:  How do you personally see yourself through a writer's block?  (And no, I'm not asking about anyone's "muse" - just you, your thoughts, your writing and how you make it to the other side of the occasional writer's block).

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #25 on: June 13, 2016, 09:27:15 AM »
I don't think about the piece that has me stumped.  I'll find prompts, challenges or contests to spark something, anything.  Here on E The Storytellers Cafe is a good place to go for that. 

Running into a block can often leave us feeling vulnerable and as though our creativity has fled when it is simply the story that is holding us back.  Working on other pieces can free up our minds.  That will help me find another way to look at things. 

I also read a lot when I can.


Do you find it difficult to work humor into a story?

Offline Miscellany

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2016, 09:47:54 AM »
A.   Not usually,  I have a quirky sense of humor and I like to interject humorous elements ; if they are fitting to a character.   Sometimes, the humor comes from something happening to a rather rigid individual that puts them in a scenario that is outside of their comfort zone.  Reactions to something different , can be just as a amusing , if not more.

Q.  When a story starts to go dry ,  how do you interject a twist that might spark the life back into it ?

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2016, 07:55:05 AM »
That is a tough one, isn't it? There are so many reasons why a story can die, from lack of planning to lack of chemistry to a block you can't quite figure out. I am not very good myself at this and I am uncomfortably aware of it. However, there are some tried methods to make at least an attempt to push on. One is to end the scene gracefully but quick and then move on to the logically next one. Another is to throw in an external factor like random enemies or an accident or even terrible weather. I guess the best question to ask yourself is, what kind of fun are you really wanting to play out in that story and how can the next scene advance the story toward that. Well, actually, the REAL best question is to put that one to your cowriter.... because none of us are alone in these writing projects here on E.

I am passing on this one from Miscellany: Q.  When a story starts to go dry ,  how do you interject a twist that might spark the life back into it ?

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #28 on: June 15, 2016, 08:42:46 AM »
Adding conflict works quite often or a character that can enter a scene and cause a reaction in one or both writers.

There are two ways to look at the stories we do in role playing.  One is as a game where each player controls action in the the story and the other play off of that.  The direction is sometimes discussed but usually isn't.  The other option is as a collaborative story with constant discussion between the writers. 

It's easier to redirect the story with communication that without it.  Honest communication, actually saying out loud (in writing) what you want and what your concerns are gives your partner something to work with.  When you are explicit there is no doubt.  When you are only vague and drop hints don't be surprised if your partner doesn't get it.  There is a lot of truth in the statement that two heads are better than one.


I'll leave the question open for other opinions.

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #29 on: July 16, 2016, 06:09:13 AM »
I'm not sure to what else to add.

However, I think there are many other things that can stop a story's progress than the lack of spark - or at least, that is my experience. I pause to call it a writing block because it is just one of those factors. For me, writer's block is that terrifying feeling of opening a thread to write the next post - and all the words above me just shrink into one block of grey mass of intertwined words. The length of the piece, the excitement of the story, the intenseness of the scene - it just zones out and eludes me. Some times I can be staring at the damn thing for half an hour then I have to go do something else, like a bit of non fiction or the dishes. The worst thing is that the next time I go back, the grey zone is still there. I can talk with my cowriter, I can read the thread from the start including the preparatory notes and my cowriter's Ons, I can go read some wikipedia articles about the story theme, nothing seems to help. My conclusion so far is that this is an entirely mental issue. Usually I DO snap out and then I can write a post in one go, but days and WEEKS can go by while part of my head is blanking out the issue.

Anyone else have this problem?

Offline Undine

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #30 on: July 16, 2016, 07:44:34 AM »
No, I'm afraid I don't - my head just doesn't work that way, I suppose.  "Writer's block" or "blanking out" isn't something that normally affects me; I can usually look at most any story I'm a part of, and see exactly where I mean to go.  The only things that stop me from writing during my time not spent at work or with family, is either exhaustion or physical pain (or both) at the end of the day, sapping my ability to do what I want for a partner and our story. 

Normally I write in chronological order from when I received a last post because... Well, I guess it's just something I consider to be polite, as strange as that sounds  xD  There may be other stories I'm writing that 'excite' me more at the time because they are in a 'juicy' place plot-wise, or they may be just beginning and beginnings are always lots of fun.  The one time I know I write out of order, is when I have to set a scene I feel a little intimidated by, that I doubt my ability to do it right or do it justice; or when the content involves something so emotionally charged I have to be 'ready' to write for it with lots of sleep and a clear head.  But no, I'm afraid there's never a time when I do sit down to write, that I 'blank out' and simply cannot get something down. Granted, sometimes what I do wind up writing surprises me, or isn't where I thought things would go - or sometimes it's a far smaller or far larger response than I originally intended, but that is just the way stories go sometimes ;) 

And since I was obviously zero help for the Captain's question, does anyone else experience what he does?

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #31 on: July 16, 2016, 08:24:08 AM »
I've seen instances where one character seems to be overwhelming the other.  There is a feeling things are not going in a good direction for one of the writers.  Cases like that, where the desires of the partners aren't meshing, need more communication and perhaps some compromise.  Also, when one person moves too quickly or too slowly in a certain direction is can leave the other writer lost or floundering.  Here again communication and comprise might be necessary if you want to keep the story going.

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #32 on: August 13, 2016, 12:46:20 PM »
Okay, let's get this thread going again.

What is most important for you when you start a story; the characters, the setting, the plot or the smut direction and potential? This is E after all.

Offline AndNich123

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #33 on: August 13, 2016, 12:52:37 PM »
The plot. With strong characters, the plot can build up making the smut explosive, but smut just for the sake of smut can leave one feeling unfulfilled.

-hat are your reasons for preference of non-con or con?

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #34 on: August 13, 2016, 01:15:21 PM »
Hrm. Straight out rape scenes doesn't really do much for me. I guess I feel the opposite character's pain more than I feel the opposite writer's pleasure. I have a lot more fun writing dubious-con, where the victims squirms and moans despite wanting to. The kind of scene where he/she tells my character how awful he is and how filthy the deed was and can he please do it again....

Passing it on.

Offline Nico

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #35 on: August 13, 2016, 01:27:06 PM »
I have no real preference. It always depends on how a story goes, the characters involved, how comfortable I am, what fits into the flow and generally how it all develops. All this. What I never do is rape because that doesn't interest me and I don't feel comfortable writing it.

Passing it on.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2016, 01:33:27 PM by Nicholas »

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #36 on: August 21, 2016, 08:32:57 AM »
I can add that one of the reasons I AM doing non-com is that I know that tormenting the cowriter's character is pleasing to the cowriter him/herself. But I have to have a character background that explains it. Let's take a typical bad guy character, a pimp who keeps a handful of street prostitutes. He will be sweet talking new girls into the job, then turn harsh when they fail to deliver the quotas of customers and payments. In a story the violence is then easily understood. Could this become a love story? Yes, certainly. But it isn't a story I could write - there is no way I could sympathize with the character. But it's not because of the violence. Compare this with the fact that I am soon to embark on a story where I play the Joker against Harley Quinn - the epitome of cruelty and abuse. Why is this acceptable to me? For one thing he would not dream of sharing her with anyone. Whatever bad things he does to her, it isn't because she is an income source. It is personal and it goes both ways. The character is so much deeper, the relationship so much more complex, that the madness gets a reason of its own. And yeah, I know... there'll be a lot of disagreement to the above statement. We are many with relations to those particular characters. But this is my interpretation.

Anyway. New question. How do you guys keep track of your story writing. I know some have only a couple of stories going and others have dozen spread over multiple sites and communication systems. So how do you cope? 
« Last Edit: August 21, 2016, 08:34:53 AM by Captain Maltese »

Offline Neithriel

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #37 on: August 21, 2016, 08:51:40 AM »
This is a question that is...harder to answer. For me personally I've tried many different mediums for writing. I've done chat, Skype mostly, I've done chat sites as well (f-list), Rp in MMO's. The list continues, but I do find many of them just do not work for me personally. I find that, chat, as in skype and chat sites are...too quick for me. In other words mostly, the responses I get are boring and for lack of better words, simple. The response time is quicker obviously - and perhaps I enjoy more details and well thought out responses then what they can offer so I've backed out of all my rp on those sites.

As for the others - MMO's currently I have one partner that I'm writing with or will be - I'm playing Black Desert Online and its with a friend, an amazing friend that I've known for a very long time. We moved from World of Warcraft to Black Desert together, we chat on skype - and play BDO together, we both poke at one another to ensure we get the time we need or the other wants for the stories we have. So we help one another, in that - and its a MMO rp, a bit different then writing here I'm not certain it applies.

As for my stories here? I have all of them bookmarked, and I try to keep a running list in my story thread and O/o's so I can find what I owe easily enough in several places. Although I admit I recently found out I forgot one story. Somehow, I thought I had responded, and I hadn't. Now I'm struggling to find the words that I thought I had put to the story. So I'm trying to respond to that one. But that is how I keep track of my writings. 

My question: How do you get over that hurdle, that moment in the story where all thoughts vanish. The story isn't over, and you still desire to write with that plot and partner -- just for that one post, that one response the words are dancing just out of reach for you? How do you get over that?

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #38 on: August 21, 2016, 09:18:39 AM »
I either have my story threads in my bookmarks and I also keep track of it all in my A/A thread. Since I only write on Elliquiy, it's pretty easy to keep track of things for moi.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #39 on: August 21, 2016, 10:29:35 AM »
My question: How do you get over that hurdle, that moment in the story where all thoughts vanish. The story isn't over, and you still desire to write with that plot and partner -- just for that one post, that one response the words are dancing just out of reach for you? How do you get over that?

I look for something new, something that hasn't been discussed between us as writers or between the characters and go with that hook.  The thing is that what I write can be changed if it is too far out there for my partner.  I have no problem with that.  It gets us past the sticking point, though.


How do you handle a character that fights you every step of the way?

Offline Illandaria

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #40 on: August 22, 2016, 01:09:39 AM »
Usually I try to ask myself why the muse isn't cooperating with that particular character. Sometimes I find that if I slow down and remember that I'm not on a deadline and I don't have to have the character figured out RIGHT NOW, the details come more easily. For example, in an RP I'm doing with a friend off of this site, I had every character trait but the name for the character I wanted to introduce. We wrote something else, and I let him simmer, and then, voila, a few days later, his name came to me.

Here's my question: How many threads can you handle at a time without being overwhelmed? Is there an upper limit to what you can handle?

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #41 on: August 22, 2016, 01:28:22 AM »

How do you handle a character that fights you every step of the way?

My characters are like that, sometimes. I rather see it as a challenge and not as hindrance, actually. I try to listen to them and usually it is enough to just let them do what they want. It might not always be what I had planned for them but characters get an own mind and I just go with the flow. I've long found out that forcing a character this way or that is a real muse killer and not very amusing to begin with. But if I let a character do, it's often very surprising, entertaining and it opens more doors for new plots!

Here's my question: How many threads can you handle at a time without being overwhelmed? Is there an upper limit to what you can handle?

There is a too much for me. But, in the end, it all depends on pace. I can have five or six threads outside of my group if the pace is comfortable enough. I think that also would be my personal limit. I made the mistake and took too many stories long ago and it didn't end well. Not going to make that mistake again. :-)

Passing the question on.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2016, 01:31:25 AM by Nicholas »

Offline Rhedyn

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #42 on: January 04, 2017, 11:11:35 AM »
It depends on who I am writing the stories with. I usually aim for around seven threads, it's a good number I can keep up with at my slow pace without feeling overwhelmed, however, I sometimes will go above that number to around ten stories with people I know I write well with and are patient with me if I get slower; this takes the form of additional roleplays with people I am already writing with.

Do you like your writing partners to add surprise twists and turns for you to write for or do you prefer to have things like that planned out?

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #43 on: January 04, 2017, 11:33:31 AM »
Planning is good and can be fun but I like the surprise twist so much.  It's a challenge and something I love in a writing partner as well as something I like to do.  I feel it keeps thing fresh and alive.

Do you ever go back through posts in a story and find a character or moment you can bring forward to add a new facet to the plot?  Would you consider doing it now if you haven't tried it before?

Offline Rhedyn

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #44 on: January 05, 2017, 04:19:54 AM »
I have done that before. When I write I often fling out nibbles of ideas for my partner to latch onto and work with, develop or ignore. I like to go back at times and revisit some of those later in the story whether it be a place they could have gone or chose not to, a character that wasn't developed as well as they could have been or a plot line that held promise but was not explored. I think that sometimes it's the obscure hints from earlier in a story that become the most interesting twists and parts to explore later down the line.

Do you write characters that are different to your real gender? If yes, do you find it considerably harder to do so? If no, why not and would you consider trying to in the future?

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #45 on: January 05, 2017, 03:47:19 PM »
I have never written written a female main character. A few times I have added a female NPC to the story for plot development but not for any emotional or erotic purposes. Being bisexual I have no issues with touching a male, or anyone else as far as biology goes, but being male is pretty much who and what I am and what femininity I possess could probably fit into a small matchbox. To make an example; I was once approached for a skit on a medieval fair. They needed a man on stage to wear a dress. Not because there was any acting involved; they just needed the least womanlike guy they could find. I completely understood why they thought of me at once. I still declined though. So, no, I cannot imagine writing a story where I play a female. My loss? Probably, but oh well.

Do you have any physical devices to help you write, beyond text editors and such? Plot charts, focus crystals, mood rooms, anything?

Offline Rhedyn

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #46 on: January 10, 2017, 05:40:20 AM »
When I write, unlike when I create visual art, I like to have a clear workspace. If I'm having a tough time with my muse I will either wear my labradorite necklace of carry my labradorite crystal with me. I will often go out of the house to write too. I find the words tend to flow more easily when I find a spot in a coffee shop where there is activity and background noise around me but nothing that is engaging me specifically, if that makes sense.

Passing it on.

Offline Nico

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #47 on: January 10, 2017, 03:14:15 PM »
Nope. All I really need is my muse and perhaps some music now and then.

Passing it on.

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #48 on: January 10, 2017, 03:35:55 PM »
The best way to answer Writer's Block is to step away from the story for a bit and revisit it. I am new at in-depth roleplaying storywise so I really don't have anything to base it on. As far as some "on the fly" roleplays like on a messanger I have been fairly good at coming up with stories. I think the best way to get over it is like I said, get some space, walk away from the computer and revisit it later on, that usually helps a lot.

Do you have a particular style you like your partner to have? Or are you okay either way?

Offline RedRose

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #49 on: January 12, 2017, 04:18:43 AM »
I like the style to fit the story. I don't use the same style for a modern teen story and a historical drama, and like my cowriter to do the same. I also don't write well with one liners and underdeveloped settings that are just about rushing to smut. Best way to kill my muse. :)

Passing it on.

Offline Nico

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #50 on: January 12, 2017, 10:03:51 AM »
Oh yes, I do.

I would really like my writing partner to be literate and creative. Able to do multi paragraph posts with substance and a lot of detail. Inner monologue would be awesome, too! And, it is essential that we're both on the same wavelength, so to speak, when it comes to what we want.

Passing it on.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 10:32:48 AM by Nicholas »

Offline Lady Shadow

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #51 on: January 16, 2017, 02:50:41 PM »
I hate when people say pass it on! I end up answering my own question. Sigh.

I don't mind their style as long as their detailed. I like them to take something I might have posted, add on to it, and then we go from there.

What has been your best writing experience?

Offline Mirrah

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #52 on: January 16, 2017, 04:11:49 PM »
Hey, what's wrong with answering your own question? ;) They don't pass it on with the intention of making you answer your own question--or do they?! :o I like reading the different responses from people when a question gets passed around. :)

A best writing experience? I don't know that there was a 'best'. At least... there hasn't been so far. A 'worst,' yes, but a 'best,' no. They're all good fun in their own ways. :)

A fairly recent one has been writing with a friend (our characters are somewhat like sisters) breaking into a high security facility to nab some special treasures that belong to the baddie who owns it. It was fun coming up with challenges and puzzles to get past. Even the distractions on the way to the objective were fun.

Passing this question on, out of curiosity!

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #53 on: January 16, 2017, 09:24:20 PM »
Okay I gotcha!

I have to say my best writing experiences have been some naughty roleplays with a good friend. They were really hot! Haha. But it was all in good fun though, I have gotten past the smut phase for the most part!

What kinds of scenes do you enjoy least?

Offline Nico

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #54 on: January 16, 2017, 11:16:07 PM »
Oh that's easy.

-Unnecessarily drawn out sex scenes.
-Combat [nothing wrong with some violence, but much like the above, drawn out combat is just as boring]

Passing it on because it's an interesting question!

Online Blythe

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #55 on: January 17, 2017, 12:02:47 AM »
Travelling scenes--any extended traveling from point A to point B often just mucks up story-flow and slows things down, at least for me. I also feel like I'm prone to posting "filler text" for travel scenes if they go on too long. It's why I try to skip such scenes and 'fast-forward' to a new scene when I can.


What types of scenes do you feel you are most talented at writing? :-)

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #56 on: January 17, 2017, 07:52:01 AM »
Ouch. Implying "talent" on any part of my writing would require more self esteem than I have. I will venture that I am happy while writing background descriptions. The weather, the vehicles, the world, the scents and colors. Then I feel I am painting with words.

Are there any settings that you are particularly drawn to?

Offline Mirrah

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #57 on: January 17, 2017, 01:22:55 PM »
I find myself most drawn to fantasy or fictional settings, mostly outside of modern though that one has been growing on me little by little of late.

Passing the question on.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #58 on: January 17, 2017, 01:50:41 PM »
I'm mostly drawn to writing modern settings with some humor in them or a heavily emotional premise that can be worked out into a happy ending.  Romantic themes are more interesting to me right now but every once in a while a touch of the paranormal wants to intrude to tease things along.

How well do you handle an abrupt 180 in a plot when it comes as a surprise?

Offline Nico

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #59 on: January 17, 2017, 01:54:44 PM »
Not well, to be honest. If there is no communication and a writing partner just turns it all around, I'm getting cranky because that's just not very polite.

Passing it on.

Offline RedRose

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #60 on: January 18, 2017, 10:39:24 AM »
I don't like that at all. It really MUST be discussed, and I'm not necessarily going to agree, either.

Passing it on!

Offline Rhedyn

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #61 on: January 19, 2017, 02:29:11 PM »
It depends on the story and who I'm writing with but I actually really like the surprise element and will roll with it. I like to think I'm fairly adaptable to big changes like that; I see it as a challenge rather than a necessarily bad thing. That said if I wasn't comfortable with the change in direction I would bring it up in discussion and see if there was a way to make it work or change it to something we were both happy with.

How much time do you spend proof reading and editing your posts and do you find that doing it helps you feel more confident in your writing or more anxious about the quality of your replies?

Offline Nico

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #62 on: January 19, 2017, 02:34:03 PM »
I proofread at least once, maybe twice. Editing happens now and then, usually during proofreading. Now and then I get an idea while doing that and then I have to add it.

Hah! I generally feel a bit anxious about what I'm writing. I know that my writing partners enjoy it, otherwise they hardly would write with me, but often there is this little bit of worry left, that it's boring.

Passing it on.

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #63 on: March 25, 2017, 02:22:28 PM »
I do most of my post writing in Windows Note Book which is barely one step above hammer and chisel, but never ever crashes on me or distracts me with fancy effects. When I feel I have a workable text that's portioned into paragraphs, I copy the text over into E's post editor. There the spellchecker kicks in and I fix what must be fixed. I post that, and reads the text over one more time in case the grammar has any embarrassing issues. That's about it.


The first years I wrote on E, it seemed a challenge to write the posts long enough. But my previous writing experience was from direct roleplay where a sentence was a post. With time, the posts have grown longer. And longer. And longer. Until I fear it has undesirable effects both in post size, post frequency and indeed writing cooperation. How do you guys keep your posts in check?

Offline Nico

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #64 on: March 25, 2017, 02:54:05 PM »
I don't try to keep anything in check. It would be restraining my muse and I'm not going to do that. A post will be as long as it will be, until I feel that it's good and wrapped up nicely. That can be after two paragraphs or after seven or more. Depends on what I get. As harsh as it sounds, but if someone has a problem with my post length then we will have to stop writing together.

Passing it on.

Offline RedRose

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #65 on: March 26, 2017, 02:25:45 PM »
Same here! I've occasionally produced very long posts, as in three pages. And those weren't even openers  ;D
But most of the time, it ranges from three paragraphs to a dozen. I will certainly re-read and cull whatever is "fluff", but if it's character development or plot advancement, I won't touch it. I've had people dump the RP because they "couldn't do long posts". I prefered it to replying with a tiny paragraph.

Passing it on?

Offline Rhedyn

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #66 on: March 30, 2017, 03:51:26 PM »
I also don't keep it in check. I write my posts however long they need to be to get to the point I want to get to with them and convey all the details I want them to. Sometimes that's a couple of paragraphs, sometimes it's a lot more.

What do you feel are your three best qualities as a writer?

Offline RedRose

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #67 on: April 01, 2017, 08:13:31 AM »
That's a great question! Thanks for asking ;)

I'd say my characters, first, unless that's too vague? I think I write realistic (within the story/fandom) characters with "real" thoughts and emotions, characters that evolve with time and experience.
Then I am reliable. Unless there's something crazy like a family emergency on another continent, I'm not dropping you. I'm not getting writer's block/can work through it - provided the RP is going well and you're not sending back a bare bone paragraph.
And because it counts, I think my writing is pretty fine. I have imagination, and I can spell :)

Do you have a fickle muse, or do you generally always can write?

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #68 on: April 01, 2017, 09:44:30 AM »
Fickle is an understatement at times. ~chuckles~

I have a very particular and picky muse but once he latches onto something, it's all good. Of course, I can't always write each day and sometimes I don't even want to.

Passing it on.

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #69 on: April 23, 2017, 10:13:54 AM »
My muse is like a racing horse. An old one. Meaning it might or might not be present on the starting line, it might have a good day or a bad one, and betting on it is not good business.

---

If you have a number of stories and you have not posted in any of them for a while, how do you approach the problem?

For my own part, I do in the bad periods what I do in the good. And what I do in the good periods is to pick a story up, read it, and let my muse tell me what should happen. So I write the post, then move on to the next. In the bad periods, this pattern crashes when my muse is silent. This is however just the start of the problem. Because after staring at that first post, I go to a full halt. And now, all of my other stories get the same blank stare. I rip loose eventually, but this is clearly an issue of faulty writing methods and faulty writing discipline, and it has cost me far too many stories. I am working to find a way to at least get past the first hurdle so I can move on to another story and service that one in the meanwhile. Keep in mind that this issue, for me, has never been with a single type of story or setting or cowriter.

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #70 on: May 02, 2017, 07:56:47 AM »
Oooooh, GREAT question, Captain!!
 
I don't have total writer's block, as a rule.  What I have, is story block.  It's good for me to have several writing projects going at once because, to paraphrase Isaac Asimov, if I'm up against a brick wall in Story A, I move on to Story B and let my subconscious work on Story A in the background for a while. 
   
But if I can't find anything that excites me about ANY of my current stories, then the problem is nearly always what I consider creative exhaustion.  There's no well so deep that it doesn't run dry on occasion.  When there's no spark for anything I'm writing, I know I need to refill the well.  It helps to engage in most any other creative or related activity for a while.  I'm a musician, so I'll learn a new piece.  Or I'll read.  Or binge-watch something -- anything from Game of Thrones to old sitcom reruns.  Better yet, when possible I'll go to a few live events: concerts, plays, opera, stand-up comedy, you name it.
   
It's not a guaranteed fix; but if some other activity can excite me emotionally, I can usually come back to my writing with a fresh outlook and new ideas.
 
Passing it on because it's such a difficult and interesting topic!
   
 

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #71 on: August 08, 2017, 10:39:56 AM »
Well, at least it is a relief that once you manage to get the first post down, the next story is a lot easier to post in.

---

Music is an absolutely vital tool for me when I write. Whatever period and situation I am writing, be it a battlefield or a lover's bed, I can always find a suitable soundtrack in my music archive or youtube. It gives me the rhythm, the mood and depth to be inspired in. However, what I listen to while I think is anything related. But when the words start flowing I must turn off any music that has lyrics. Even more so if the song is in a different language than I am writing in. Finding suitably music without lyrics is a bit harder but it is that or silence. The brain just breaks.

So, the new and obvious question: How do YOU use music in your writing process?


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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #72 on: August 27, 2017, 11:45:49 AM »
I generally don't listen to music while writing because I find it too distracting. Sometimes a song will give me an idea for a story due to the way it makes me feel or the lyrics will trigger an idea that I have to get down for either a roleplay or a short story or something though.

Passing it on.

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #73 on: August 27, 2017, 02:11:16 PM »
Music sets a tone for me and makes it easier to write some scenes.  I tend to use classical music, movie scores and things without lyrics, or music in a foreign language that I do not understand.  Like Rhedyn, some songs can fire up my imagination and help me come up with new ideas or characters. 

Passing it on.

Offline Trilby

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #74 on: August 27, 2017, 03:16:12 PM »
Music sets a tone for me and makes it easier to write some scenes.  I tend to use classical music, movie scores and things without lyrics, or music in a foreign language that I do not understand.  Like Rhedyn, some songs can fire up my imagination and help me come up with new ideas or characters. 

Passing it on.
 
Yes.  This.
 
I use classical music almost exclusively.  I especially use it when I'm writing a scene that for calls for emotions that I have very little experience with -- motherhood, looking imminent death in the face.  Or when I'm writing an extended scene of very heightened emotions.  Music helps me sustain the feelings while I craft the words. 

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #75 on: August 29, 2017, 06:51:33 PM »
I need to be careful with music in one respect. Even though I rely on choosing the right music for capturing the mood I want, there is the occasional danger that I get more from the song than I wanted. Normally this is not a problem; the music is recorded in some sort of staged setting or in a studio and the song is simply performed; the words may be real but they belong to the person who wrote the song. But once in a blue moon the song is more than a performance. It becomes a true vessel for the real emotions of the singer or player even if they do not excel as singers. You don't hear it often since music is an art of much practice and performing, besides in national anthems and rallying songs, and a few other emotional instances. But when I hear it, it makes my neck hairs stand out and if I sit down to write right then, the words will not be mine. It is scary and it is magic. But I digress.

We, that is everybody on E, write partnered fiction stories. But many do more than that. How do you diversify your writing beyond that?

Offline RedRose

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #76 on: August 30, 2017, 11:23:50 AM »
That's a great question. I write, a lot. Lite stuff like my beauty blog, heavy stuff like a Holocaust program for a high school, articles superficial to scientific, I'm forever working on some dictionary. I write in several languages (ok, mostly 2). Maybe one day I'll author or co-author a book. A couple people are hounding me ;) I can't be bothered for now...
edited to add I used to write poetry. Alexandrines, or more modern, but always classics with rhymes and meaning.

Passing it on because I'm always looking for inspiration.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 09:32:20 AM by RedRose »

Offline Trilby

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #77 on: August 30, 2017, 08:52:29 PM »
I write poetry.  No blank verse; something with a form and a rhyme pattern.  Anything from limericks to sonnets.  I think that the discipline of writing with a required cadence and rhyming words helps my prose writing.
 
Passing it on.

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #78 on: September 05, 2017, 05:49:11 PM »
I have written different types of things in the past; plays, poetry, short stories. These days I seem to do best with writing articles about things that interest me; movie reviews, survivalism, whatever comes to mind. No one are asking for them, I do not seek publishing beyond Elliquiy and I do not expect feedback, but I will admit I delight in seeing the thread counters grow. I believe part of the fun is that these articles requires mostly analytical thinking, so my creativity and emotions can be saved for the story writing.

New question: Would you be interested in, or are you already participating in writing and posting very short (single paragraph) stories on E?

Offline Lady Shadow

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #79 on: September 16, 2017, 05:09:50 AM »
I would be interested. I am not currently in the middle of any stories with anyone right now. I became a member back in January, and just never came back. I find it hard to write and be creative when a lot of the story is left on my shoulders to create. Most of the time, most of the roleplayers just write off the new material I add in and don't give me any new material of theirs to work with. I find this very difficult in constructing a story because all they are really contributing is "filler" and I just might as well be writing the story myself.

New question: What is your inspiration for writing? (Where did your love of writing come from)

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #80 on: September 16, 2017, 05:50:05 AM »
Good one. I grew up in a rural industrial place where kids played a number of sports or played instruments or just hung out or learned to play tractors and cars as soon as they could reach the levers. No one, and I mean no one, read books. Except me. I was the only kid in the library at any given time, I was the only kid with a lending card who used it and I was the only kid that would be bringing home a bag of books. Mature books. I knew Jules Verne and 1001 Night before I was 12. Eventually that colored over into my school work, the language classes in particular. I might have issues with analysis and grammar but I still kept getting As and similar on my fiction and nonfiction. Not because I wanted them but because I loved writing. Because in writing, as in reading, my mind could escape and go to happier places.

That is a long time ago. Now I write because it gives me a feeling of accomplishing a little something, and because it is my only remaining, and main social channel. I feel like my voice is heard. I feel like I can perhaps still put a smile on someone's face. So I write my nonfiction stuff for my mind's health, and my fiction for my heart's health.

I pass the question on.

Offline RedRose

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #81 on: September 16, 2017, 10:11:43 AM »
Great question!

Short answer: it's my thing. I've even worked as a lit teacher.

Long answer: I think I can thank my family and education for that. My parents read a ton. My grandparents always did, even through terrible times. I grew up with stories of my great grandmother reading a book a day. I used to read a book or two a week, and then internet happened ;)

I guess this can naturally lead to writing. Writing what you would like to read, or what you would like people to read, or simply what you want to write... I started filling notebooks even before I could spell right, and I learned early because my first grade teacher believed in rulers on the fingers  ;D Then I had penpals. I would actually RP with some of them without even knowing it had a name. I hid it from my parents because I felt they wouldn't be ok with it even though I don't think it quite reached PG-13 levels!

I never published anything but a thesis (university work). There's still time though, my mother just sent her first work to publishers... I was her first reader, before even my father and my grandparents. Her style is fantastic (granted she writes in her first language). She often asks if I still write, but these days it is mostly RP and there is no way my family could be ok with "writing with strangers". My mom is the type who censors her own books; my O/O would probably traumatize her and make her think she raised me all wrong ;)

Passing it on.

Offline Lady Shadow

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #82 on: September 17, 2017, 01:56:38 AM »
Well my question comes back full circle!

My inspiration for writing comes from my love of books. I got really interested in reading at a young age and read all the Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley High books before Junior High School. I loved everything Sci-Fi and that branched out in me writing a few Science Fiction short stories of my own.

Truth be told, I think my love of reading really came from my Mom. She was really influential in making sure I always had plenty of books to read.

Okay new question:

Is there a certain writing style you have adopted? Like do you feel yourself in your character, or are all things made up?

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #83 on: September 17, 2017, 02:11:14 AM »
I don't know whether you can call it a style, but I have to be able to see an action happening, and at the very least, observe what's going on with MC.  For instance -- I've never been afraid that I was going to be killed, or imprisoned, and that, to me, is too complex and too extreme to actually feel in myself without having been in that position.  (Rant: Personally, I also think it's disrespectful of anyone who HAS had to look down the barrel of a gun, to say that you "know it must feel".  /rant)  But I can see it in MC.  I can feel her heart racing, I can feel her body tense.  If I'm writing anything with difficult emotions, or complex movements (say, a fight), I have to be able to at least understand the physical effects it has on MC, if not the emotional impact.
 
I call it "Seeing through her eyes."
 
Great questipn!  Passing it on....

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #84 on: September 17, 2017, 09:28:00 AM »
"Is there a certain writing style you have adopted? Like do you feel yourself in your character, or are all things made up?"

Frankly that's two separate questions. I'll answer both, the second one first. When I sit down to write and open the appropriate doors in my mind, I can feel four people present. Me. My cowriter. My character. And my cowriter's character. The cowriter's character takes the stage first. How is he/she currently feeling? Is there attraction, anger, surprise, fear, boredom? Then my own character steps up and notices all of those things, and reacts emotionally then sets about to deal with it. Except I am now consulting the interests of my cowriter, either by way of experience with that person or by checking up the OO's or even by sending a pm. This is E and what their character may love the writer may loathe, or the other way around. By now I probably know where things are logically or probably going in the current scene. At this point I check with myself what *I* really want to do. Is it full steam ahead or are things going way too slow or fast? Am I comfortable with the event, or do I need to find a way out? All of this is more or less intuitive, but that does not make it EASY. I am no big socialite who can skate through any situation. If I get stuck with this stuff I might not be writing another word of fiction for the next month. Conversely I feel rather proud every time I can hit the Post button.

Have I adopted a certain style? The above is a method. My writing style as I understand the concept is influenced by four different schools. The first is Norwegian, of course. Linguists will know that our current written language has maybe 10% of the word count of English. It is strongly influenced by Danish in grammar and style, after all they ruled this country from about 1650 to 1814 when we were handed over to the Swedes as war booty, and Danish is also a fairly terse language. So writing fictions in Norwegian tends to be fairly straight-forward. We are big on verbs, not so big on adjectives, and generally as flowery as a lawn mower user guide book. However! Norwegians get introduced to English at school at the age of 8 or so which obviously opens a new world for the word lover. Some of us also get German, French, Spanish as options eventually but unless we go for linguistic main studies we don't really get much fiction reading there. So, once I could read books in English I became aware that there are three big style schools: French fiction, English fiction and American fiction. Jules Verne, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Albert Camus - incredible French story writers, telling fantastic adventures in the most ornate sentences with wild people doing daring things. I was in love with French words even before I knew what they met. Then I stumbled across the channel and met J.R.R. Tolkien, Jerome K. Jerome, Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, and I learned a different way of writing - the English Understatement. Where the French characters had shouted and waved their arms at each other, this English breed communicated with terse words and measured nods and more love for describing items and faces than emotions. I was fascinate again. It was an odd thing to walk into American literature and find yet another way to do things. A lot more physical action, and interactions with a more overt erotic play than I was used to from anywhere else. Other emotions were less played out. Other motives changed too; money and personal success became far more important.

All those styles have affected me. The French style makes my English writing far more colorful than my Norwegian, which is an irony not lost on me. The British style helps me make better plots, crisper dialogue and makes my characters often more noble or polished than I would ever attempt in my mother language. And the passion I muster in my writing is much easier to find words for if I think of a scene from some American book or movie. 

New question. Mention three books that were important to you at an EARLY age. And why.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 09:30:13 AM by Captain Maltese »

Offline Mirrah

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #85 on: November 26, 2017, 11:18:26 PM »
New question. Mention three books that were important to you at an EARLY age. And why.

1. Frog and Toad - Taught me the value of friendship, of working through sometimes rocky relationships and interactions with others.
2. Amelia Bedelia - Taught me that it is okay to be different and imperfect.
3. The Dark Is Rising - And others of its series dragged me into a (now) long-standing affair with the Fantasy genre.

Passing this question on.

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #86 on: November 27, 2017, 07:02:47 AM »
1. Frog and Toad - Taught me the value of friendship, of working through sometimes rocky relationships and interactions with others.
2. Amelia Bedelia - Taught me that it is okay to be different and imperfect.
3. The Dark Is Rising - And others of its series dragged me into a (now) long-standing affair with the Fantasy genre.

Passing this question on.
   
Captain, thanks for the great question; and Mirrah, thanks for passing it on!
 
1.) Winnie the Pooh -- It was the earliest book I can remember that was about love, deep and rich and abiding; loving people for who they are, loving people because of their flaws, not in spite of them; and the importance of taking care of each other.  I don't know that I ever realized this before I thought about answering this question, but I learned about unconditional love from Pooh.
 
2.) The Wizard of Oz -- From Dorothy, I learned that even the small and meek can be brave and heroic, and that they can do brave and heroic things; and maybe more important, that courage doesn't mean the absence of fear. The series was my first exposure to a completely alternate world, with its own geography, cultures, and rules.
 
3.) The Hobbit -- Through Tolkien and Bilbo, the things I learned in The Wizard of Oz were reinforced and elaborated on, and I vicariously experienced real danger and serious consequences for I think the first time.  Some words and phrases were added to my vocabulary, too.  To this day, I'm prone to say "Thag you very buch" when I have a cold.
   
GREAT question, passing it on!


Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #87 on: November 28, 2017, 10:48:27 AM »
Three of my early books. And I mean really early.

1) "Seraphin" Children's illustrated book by Phillipe Fix. Seraphin was a highly creative outsider who could build anything. The story ended with him and his friend building a stair while chased by police and firemen, then removing the lowest stair steps to put on the top of the stairs, and so they escaped into the sky. The little tale affected me deeply, and taught me the price of being different - and the reasons why one should be different anyway.

2) "Charlie And The Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl (I have never seen the movie). This one hit on different strings. I was struck hard by the descriptions of poverty, which was a rare thing in a children's book. Greed was another unusual topic. But I loved the wonders within the factory; the river of chocolate; the machines - and Granddad, who impressed me more than even Willy Wonka. The various nasty kids taught me nothing new.

3) "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" by Jules Verne. It it a salty sea tale which was enough in itself to get me hooked. All these wonderful places under the surface of the sea, and knowing that the eerie science fiction from 1870 when the books was published was already both real and outdated. The one factor that have returned me to the book many times since is the main character, Captain Nemo. What made him tick, what motivated him - he remains one of the largest characters I have ever read about.


New question. Do you ever reuse parts of your derelict stories? Use the same character setting or location, even the first posts?

Offline Mirrah

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #88 on: November 28, 2017, 11:26:39 AM »
New question. Do you ever reuse parts of your derelict stories? Use the same character setting or location, even the first posts?

I am guilty of doing so.

Not so much the exact character or idea, but I have pulled aspects of characters from dead end stories, or characters who have never even seen the light of day... They are never as their original incarnations though. I typically like to create characters that I think would fit a setting or a scene, and that usually means no repeat characters, or pulling an exact replica out to use with someone else. They may share certain similar qualities (because I like those things or am experimenting with ideas at the time). As for settings, it is similar, as long as it fits the story and can add more to it. I have to have loved the locale, or thought that there was more potential to it than was explored the first time I brought a character through. As tourists visit many different places of the world, I don't think that it is wrong for different characters to experience such a thing. Locations, just like people, can change depending on the time that one visits it though, so tends to be reflected in roleplays as well.

Passing this question on, because I find it interesting and often wonder the same, myself.

Offline Mr Quixotic

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #89 on: December 06, 2017, 01:09:49 AM »

New question. Do you ever reuse parts of your derelict stories? Use the same character setting or location, even the first posts?

Generally, no. I did try once, with a story that one partner had to leave due to real-life, to re-use the same character in the same plot-line with a new partner in an attempt to recapture the same dynamic as the original had. Not a good idea as it was the particular chemistry between our respective characters, and the way we/they naturally worked off each other, which made it as uniquely addictive as it was. I've never been able to get it out of my head, even despite now currently writing another version of that story, except this time with completely new characters and just as addictive, but in a different way.

The only other time I've re-used a character is in a story that I had going with one partner than ended up running out of steam fairly quickly, being a bit one-note. We started another, more complex story, and as it progressed a lightbulb went off in our heads and we thought, "You know, the characters and their story from our first scene, whilst not enough to maintain a long-term roleplay in itself, would be a great fit to act as a 'connector' to weave the strands and relationships of our new one together.  Approaching three years later, coming from a scene that had lasted less than four months originally, they've done just that and remain one of a trio of main pairings. As well as one of my all-time favourites.

In regards to re-using starters,  I have once or twice with abandoned openers that didn't receive a reply or where the was only a couple of posts, but not for a story that had previously lasted any length of time. Not sure if I could, it might feel too much like I'm plaigirising myself, though exactly why I feel there's such a difference between the two, I'm not quite sure.

New Question: Being one who, apart from the broad brush-strokes and what's directly relevant to the plot-line, knows virtually nothing about my character's precise background, history or what their specific personality traits, quirks, foibles, flaws, etc will be before the first words of their story hit the screen and I'm able to start getting to know them in 'real-time',  I'm curious as to how well or how much others need or prefer to know about their own and/or their partners character before they start? A lot of detail or a just a bare-bones outline?
« Last Edit: December 06, 2017, 05:37:03 AM by Mr Quixotic »

Offline Mirrah

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #90 on: December 06, 2017, 08:00:24 AM »
New Question: Being one who, apart from the broad brush-strokes and what's directly relevant to the plot-line, knows virtually nothing about my character's precise background, history or what their specific personality traits, quirks, foibles, flaws, etc will be before the first words of their story hit the screen and I'm able to start getting to know them in 'real-time',  I'm curious as to how well or how much others need or prefer to know about their own and/or their partners character before they start? A lot of detail or a just a bare-bones outline?

I've started typing without any particular detail in mind and building as I went, beginning with physical aspects, then adding personality quirks, thoughts, emotions. Drive. Sometimes, it doesn't always work in that order. Other times, I've started with just scarce bones laid out. Then, there are the times where the character is mostly fleshed out before a story begins. I can do either one, but if I have a particular direction I'd like to go in (as well as requests from partners) for a story, I prefer the last. Even having just a few details helps. Then again, the method also affects my preference.  For chat RP, I often did the first and second. For forum RP, I prefer the approach of the third.

Question: What would you say is (or are) your weakest point (or points) as a writer?

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #91 on: December 06, 2017, 11:09:18 AM »
My weakest point as a writer is definitely that I have never been able to just sit down and write fiction like a professional. I can look at the most intriguing, most delectable post from cowriters I treasure and adore and know like lovers, and it is like looking at a blank wall - absolutely not one word wells up within me. Then later; hours, days, weeks later and without warning the words, paragraphs and pages starts flowing like summer rain.

Passing that one on.

Offline Nico

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #92 on: December 06, 2017, 12:01:00 PM »
My weakest points?

Definitely my fickle, picky muse. ~laughs~ I'm not very good with writing combat, not for post on end, at the very least. It bores me too quickly to write it for too long.

Passing it on.

Offline RedRose

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #93 on: December 07, 2017, 07:36:12 AM »
Loooong paragraphs about detailed combat, or detailed high-tech devices. I'm all for action and sci fi but I can't do this.

Passing it on.

Offline Mirrah

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #94 on: December 07, 2017, 09:57:39 AM »
I have many weak points. Dialogue, world building, hard sci-fi tech terminology (or just techno terminology in general), combat (especially when it comes to the established names of maneuvers), being some of the chief ones. Oh, yes, and the capricious muse. I am ever at her mercy.

And, since that was my question...

Question: In your opinion, what are your strengths, when it comes to writing?

Offline Nico

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #95 on: December 07, 2017, 12:53:40 PM »
Oh that's easy. :-)

I am completely at ease with dialogue, adding details, descriptions of settings, emotions, fabrics, smells, sounds... I can 'go with the flow' pretty easily if it's with someone I mesh with well.

Passing it on!

Offline RedRose

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #96 on: December 07, 2017, 01:09:19 PM »
Easy indeed!

Making a character real, getting into their head, their feelings and reactions, creating a non manichean setting, dialogues. Also I do NOT lose my muse, unless I'm not given enough to work with or some catastrophe happens. I can keep a RP going for years and have done it more than once!

Passing it on.

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #97 on: December 08, 2017, 05:23:08 PM »
Right now, strengths is not what comes first to mind of my writing. But I do put a decent amount of research into my stories. Either into the history of the time and place, or into the type of characters and environments I am working with. I really, really want things to feel RIGHT.

New question: When you ponder a new story, are you looking for a familiar and comfortable setting or do you look for a challenge?

Offline Gypsywoman

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #98 on: December 08, 2017, 08:45:00 PM »
I have to admit that I look for something familiar, but my newest RP is little different for what I'm use to... and I'm really enjoying it.


Passing the question

Offline RedRose

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #99 on: December 10, 2017, 05:59:06 AM »
I'm a very eclectic writer and will be familiar with very many styles. That said I generally go for one of those familiar styles. I can and will do research, but am not currently opened to something fully different (like dices, or smut world etc).

Passing it on.

Offline Nico

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #100 on: December 10, 2017, 08:59:28 AM »
Challenges are fine, but the setting has to interest me in the first place. Why would I write something I'm not interested in or lack the knowledge of?

Passing it on.

Offline Mirrah

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #101 on: December 10, 2017, 09:50:16 AM »
New question: When you ponder a new story, are you looking for a familiar and comfortable setting or do you look for a challenge?

If the story fires me up, I would go for that new and unfamiliar setting. That said, I tend to go into experimental stages, and don't mind doing research, though I see nothing wrong with keeping to comfortable settings. I guess I want and like both, depending on the space my mind is in.

Passing it on.

Offline Caeli

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #102 on: December 11, 2017, 01:03:14 PM »
New question: When you ponder a new story, are you looking for a familiar and comfortable setting or do you look for a challenge?

I'm not sure that familiar and comfortable would necessarily be the same in my case - I am probably comfortable writing in a number of settings that I don't have actual role playing (or story writing) experience with, which would make them "not familiar" to me.

Thinking on my process, I don't think it's usually the setting that comes to mind first. When I come up ideas it's heavily weighted towards character interaction and potential for development; once I plant the initial seed for the idea, I then start working outwards from there on a number of things including setting. I ask questions about the  characters' backgrounds, start thinking about their immediate surroundings, NPCs they might interact with...

TLDR; the setting is incidental; I welcome the challenge if it comes but I'm more focused on character interaction.

New question!

What is your favorite part about world-building?

Offline Xanaphia00

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #103 on: December 13, 2017, 04:36:44 PM »
What is your favorite part about world-building?
Making everything fit together and make logical sense. I love when one things leads to another, leads to the next detail. For example, ahile ago, I started writing a political intrigue rp set in a fantasy kingdom. I have no idea about the kingdom, at all, no idea where to even beginning. So here I am, writing the wedding scene, introducing some of the cast by having them present gifts to the main couple I get to the male MC's grandfather, and decide he is gifting the couple a ship. Which means his lands must be on the coast. Now, since more of the continent is landlocked, his coastal region has a monopoly on foreign trade, and he is the most wealthy of the dukes in this kingdom, wielding significant power. All these details, just from his choice of gift.

Passing it on.

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #104 on: January 30, 2018, 07:27:38 AM »
The question is very interesting. Because when I think it over, I almost never do build worlds. Most of my stories are in the real one in past or present or future, or in a close corollary like steampunk or with a spirituality theme. I will happily spend hours researching the historical background for a story; the food, the music, the cultural eccentrics. If I have to start inventing beasts and find new names for alcohol I lose traction pretty quick. Maybe it is something I should try to do more often. I'll hang on to that thought.


New question.
Do you model your characters on anybody, like other book characters or historical ones or even people you know/knew personally?

Offline Nico

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #105 on: February 04, 2018, 08:33:08 AM »
No.

I generally avoid it because I feel that it takes a way a lot of my freedom when it comes to writing. My characters are their own personalities. I write one historical person and even there I do my own thing, but my favourite characters are the ones I can create on my own, without restrictions. I never would base a character off of someone I know personally. That would feel very weird to me.

Passing it on.

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #106 on: May 22, 2018, 09:15:37 AM »
There are movie and book characters whom I admire and/OR respect, and historical people and actors as well. They often show up as my avatars here on E. I don't use them in my stories. Not so much that they can't be used, as me worrying I won't be able to write them as well as the real thing. Both for my sake, and for my cowriter who has chosen to write against that highly specific character. But I am happy to let them inspire me and I can incorporate their way of speaking, their body language and their looks.

New question:
How much do you rely on classic story characters in your writing? Do you simply pick up an elven ranger archetype and play it out from there, or is the frame merely a box to think outside of?

Offline Nico

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #107 on: May 22, 2018, 09:33:18 AM »
I try to stay away from those as much as possible. It's so easy to fall into stereotypes and I really try to avoid those, too. ~laughs~ My character ideas just.. happen and then I roll with it.

Passing it on.

Offline RedRose

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #108 on: May 23, 2018, 06:31:36 AM »
My characters will never just be a stereotype or archetype. But if fitting, they may be based on a type I'm really interested in.

Passing it on.

Offline Scribbles

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #109 on: May 23, 2018, 11:47:59 PM »
I tend to enjoy both stereotypical and niche characters, it all depends on how I'm feeling and which fits best for the current story.

Do you have any interesting methods for breaking through writer's block?

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #110 on: May 24, 2018, 06:31:43 AM »
I am not sure if this counts as a method. When I have had a writing drought for a while, I notice that the first sign that the creative juices are running again when my head starts constructing sentences by itself again. I might be reading an article or watching a tv program or movie or just be driving, and something goes *click* and the words starts lining up together. When the brain back room's light goes on and I can hear "Considering recent events in France it should be noted that..." or "The summer night was warm, James' heart was cold and there was just enough gas left on the tank to drive to...." then THAT is my Batman signal and the time to run to the keyboard, because then I know I can start writing about any topic.

Passing it on.

Offline Nico

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #111 on: May 24, 2018, 12:21:58 PM »

Do you have any interesting methods for breaking through writer's block?

The only thing that works for me is leave it be, not stress over it and wait until the muse jumps.

Passing it on.

Offline RedRose

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #112 on: May 24, 2018, 01:54:52 PM »
I don't do writer's block. I may be exhausted, too sad... But I won't remain unable to write for a long time. If I'm uninspired, I write something else, or start from the end, or just try to think about what the characters would do. I guess the only exception would be if I have a problem with the RP, from start or because it went a way I don't like. Then yes, I might just need to quit, but it got rare when I got picky.

Passing it on.

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #113 on: June 01, 2018, 07:50:04 AM »
When I fight the writing block I actively seek related input. So if I want to work on a story in a time and place I look for music from that time and place. Or a movie, or a nonfiction program, or even just pictures. Music works best because I get the ambience without getting sidetracked by the movie's story.

New question:
Have you ever been published, or tried to get published? Here defining publishing as having it bought or distributed by a third party.

Offline Nico

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Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #114 on: June 01, 2018, 08:58:41 AM »
No and no. Writing is only a hobby for me.

Offline RedRose

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #115 on: June 01, 2018, 09:53:18 AM »
I wrote a few articles that got published. My first book (non fiction) got published very recently and I've now sent my first novel to Publishers.

Offline midnightblack

Re: The Writing Column Q & A
« Reply #116 on: June 03, 2018, 12:30:23 AM »
All the time, but never literary works. Just technical peer-reviewed stuff.

I guess it's ok to throw a new question. What's the ambience that helps you the most when you work on fiction?