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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:51 pm 
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I loved your story, too, phoenix! Your passion for the deep sea creatures is evident in your vivid description of them!

I am less sure about merging my two projects than I was a couple of days ago, but I am carrying on with the merging plans for now. The thing is, if I think about my novel without my novella friends, my interest sort of withers away. They're adding some potential to the story that it doesn't have without them. On the other hand, maybe I just want to write about my novella characters and my novel characters just aren't that interesting? I wrote a chapter that's definitely for the novella, not the novel at first, then I got back on track and put my focus where it belongs and I have carried on merging them for now in the novel, with misgivings. I started off on one track yesterday and already had to backtrack and rewrite all of that to accommodate what I think is a better idea today, going forward. I don't know what's going to happen, but I'll carry on as I am for now, and I'm fully aware that I might be wasting the next few months on stuff that might all have to be excised and rewritten. I don't know. I do have to explore this possibility with using the two of them just to see what happens, methinks. I only know forward is the way to go so that's what I'll do. If nothing else, this makes me realize that my novella is actually a good project because I was kind of dismissive of it and putting it off and it was always last on my list (it's a novella! who reads those these days? I was never really sure it was a novella though, it might turn into novel length, I was prepared to see where it went when I got around to it but I was never getting around to) but now I see how flexible and fun its characters are as I'm trying to use them to inject fire into something that just isn't igniting on its own.

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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:22 pm 
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Thanks for the praise, seitanicverses! :)

I'd say... just go along with it and see where it takes you!
It seems to me you're a bit of an overthinker (just like me!). But exploring new territory might be just the thing!
I once dug out a rather short piece from my creative writing workshop and wrote a follow-up, just to see where it would take me. In the end, I think it turned out to be really... liberating. I ended up exploring (and exorcising) an old wound that I had been worrying at, without ever realizing...
And a friend of mine once wrote a "just for the heck of it" NaNoWriMO story in which she defeated a bit of writer's block by feeding it pure DADA: suddenly it was raining cookies. She says she has never had that much fun since. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:38 pm 
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It's true, I do overthink. And lately I've been reading other writers stuff and thinking "I can't ever do that, write like that," or "I'll never be as good as them, have what they have as writers," and you know, just being down on myself in general. And then I tell myself that when people say 'write what you know', I don't think they only mean the things that you know in real life, or whatever, in a very literal way but just, write in the vein that you do well in and be yourself and not try to be imitative or whatever. And then I realize that when I read my story, it seems more juvenile than I'd like, and maybe more immature in its premise and so on and there are so many flaws it's discouraging right now but then, there are lots of parts where I laugh out loud at what I've written (usually a description of a person, or an interaction--it's supposed to be satire so I'm playing that stuff up) and then I tell myself that those writers I admire may have some form of expression or a maturity about their writing that seems superior to my own and that I don't have, but they ARE NOT MAKING ME LAUGH and they cannot. I've seen them try. But I have been able to make folks laugh with my work (well, sometimes, you know, with people who share similar humor). So that's something.

Thanks for your help and insight, Phoenix. I will roll with it and keep going and see where it leads because above all, I'm trying to make this funny because I've always been told that humor is one of my strengths and it's not something I've explored enough and I think my novel is great terrain to do it.

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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:59 pm 
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Yay, that's the way to go, seitanicverses!
Also, those other writers are not you, so their minds work differently from your own. Never measure yourself against others, no matter what you think about them. You are unique, and so is your world-view.
Also, I'm a bit jealous about the humour and dialogue thing. I think dialogue is my weak spot.

(I also shouldn't be posting when I have been drinking, but I'm way more honest and straightforward when I'm not directly sober, so there you go.) :)


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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:16 pm 
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I used to have weak dialogue. Maybe I still do, but I think it's better than it was. I remember one of my workshop teachers told me my dialogue wasn't doing enough work for me a few years ago so he assigned me (and everyone else in the class) a 500-1000 word dialogue exercise where we had to write a story that was strictly dialogue, no narrative at all (other than clarifying "he said" or "she said" type of thing).

Also, I sort of honed in on dialogue as a easy way of telling rather than showing as when I write too much narrative, I start to think "ut oh, too tell-y, not enough showing." My stories do tend to be dialogue heavy so I think with practice I've gotten more of a hang of making it work for me and serving the story.

When I read your story from the blog, I really didn't notice a problem with the dialogue, Phoenix. I felt it was all essential and serving your story. I think everyone's harder on themselves than anyone else anyhoo. <3

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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:42 pm 
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My friend's book will be debuting next month.

http://www.shawnaromkey.com/

She got it done by dedicating one hour a day to writing that first draft. She and I both started out at about the same time but she has far more tenacity than I do. We both have stress in our lives but she didn't let it interfere with her goal of one day becoming an author. She kicks booty.


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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:25 am 
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seitanicverses wrote:
When I read your story from the blog, I really didn't notice a problem with the dialogue, Phoenix. I felt it was all essential and serving your story. I think everyone's harder on themselves than anyone else anyhoo. <3

Aww, thanks. Still, I'm convinced that real people don't talk like the characters in my stories do. That one feels most artificial because the whole story is so... constructed (and because it was a dream), but I feel that in general I'd have to try and make my dialogue sound more natural. One thing I think I did right is the stops and starts (right at the beginning, for example, when my protagonist is being told what will happen to the squid).


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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:44 pm 
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I really like the whole effect of the story, Phoenix. And while I know what you mean in it being from a dream, it does retain a few dream-like properties, but in a good way. It's more the flow of the narrative is somewhat dream-like but the ideas are very grounded in reality so it has that curious quality of both--in that it's not so dream-like that you can't relate to it and it also has the qualities of a conscious and thinking person.

I feel so much more positive today! Thanks so much Phoenix and Peri for giving me hope and reminding me of the end goal. I had a gloomy week last week and was dissatisfied with everything but this morning, I took out my novel manuscript and worked out more of it. I just need a clear path to follow for it and going through what I've written thus far, I've found something sort of linear (if that's the right word for what I mean) but you know, kind of an underlying pattern that I can use to guide me as I write it and I have just thought of a new shared narrative between two characters who will each share their perspective and tell the story that way. The more I think of it, the more it clicks into place if I take this approach although it's still overall daunting as a whole. Thanks to you, Phoenix for help talking me through it and to Peri for linking that excerpt to her friend's novel (P.S. That's so exciting! And I loved the premise and featured excerpt). Peri, you should pick up your novel and join us in this thread as we share our writing journies! I will carry on taking it day by day! <3

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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:53 pm 
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Still going on with mixing the ideas of my novella and novel into one piece. It's giving me lots of material and everything's fitting into place thus far but it's still very painstaking, writing scene by scene and it's still very early on in my story. This is the third draft now (started third draft in mid-January) and I predicted drafts three through six would be the most challenging of all because that's when (with how I write) the story's really being formed and the characters really start to develop as more individual and (hopefully) distinctive personalities. I'm asking 1000 words of myself every day but it's not like Nano writing (where I aim for 1700 a day and don't proofread just go with what comes out). These thousand words I'm writing now are more carefully thought out and proofread and edited before I move on to the next section. The novel is deviating from my original vision but I am going with it because what I have now is better than what I had before. Every day I seem to add new ideas to work in so I'm just trying to go forward and not paint myself into any corners with the plottings and whatnot. Onward!

Hopefully things are going well for everyone else pecking away at their manuscripts with me...

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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:37 pm 
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I have a 15 page paper due in three days and while I've read both the novels and written an abundance of notes and chosen excerpts from both novels and read a bunch of secondary literature, I just can't get the flow right, you know? I just stare at these pages, 15 pages, and I know there is some sort of meaning in there and it just won't come out. And considering these two novels are my favorites and have been for 10 years now, I think it might have something to do with wanting to do them RIGHT.

I think I will drink a glass of wine and open a new document and start from scratch and then copy-paste the good passages in as I go.. Someone kick me in the butt, please! I would say pants, but I'm wearing skinny jeans, so really it's the same!


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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:50 pm 
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smoothie wrote:
I have a 15 page paper due in three days and while I've read both the novels and written an abundance of notes and chosen excerpts from both novels and read a bunch of secondary literature, I just can't get the flow right, you know? I just stare at these pages, 15 pages, and I know there is some sort of meaning in there and it just won't come out. And considering these two novels are my favorites and have been for 10 years now, I think it might have something to do with wanting to do them RIGHT.

I think I will drink a glass of wine and open a new document and start from scratch and then copy-paste the good passages in as I go.. Someone kick me in the butt, please! I would say pants, but I'm wearing skinny jeans, so really it's the same!

Kickity kick! I had the issue of wanting to do right by my especially favorite writers when I had to write essays about their work in school. I remember one where my prof was more enthusiastic about the observations I made on the OTHER writer when I was working in a comparison/contast essay (probably because I wasn't able to look at my fave writer as objectively as I could others because...well...love makes me not see the forest for the trees sometimes) so I do understand that.

I think it's a good idea to start a new doc, copy paste your favorite passages and see what comes out of that. If they're your favorite passages they probably have something in common that you can link together and go from there...

Gentle kick to get going! <3

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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:39 am 
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Argh. Don't get me started on favourite writers. The big project still feels super daunting.

Talked to my best friend for hours on the phone last night. Might feel a bit less stupid and a tiny bit more motivated now. :)


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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:17 pm 
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Oh wow. I really hope I will remember this the next time I'm feeling unproductive and meh.
I had a bunch of semi-coherent notes and stuff, beginning with a little note to myself over the first paragraph, saying "rephrase".
I sat down and hated that note and basically hated the whole piece. Which has to be sent in tomorrow.
I racked my brains and nothing happened. I just didn't know how to start.

Then I just did.

I fully expected it to be super shitty writing, but one or two paragraphs in I was just churning out the words, and when I reread it it turned out to be good! Yay! So I guess, if you don't think you can write, just sit down and forking do it. :)


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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:17 pm 
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Oh, yeah, totally. I used to wait to be "in the mood to write" but now I just do it, make it part of my life. When I Nano'ed the first time, I knew I was going to make myself write every single day for a month (including weekends) and so made a point of noting on pages when I had a blinding headache or was just not into it, feeling uninspired, or whatever. No appreciable difference in the quality of work whatsoever. Just. Do. It.

Going on with my story. Have the first set of characters set up to go and now introducing the second set. I've paired them to play off each other and one of each of the paired characters will alternate the narrative. (The characters originally from my novella are doing the narrative and will tell the story of the novel's characters). This is the perspective I'm moving forward with now. Hope it works. Thus far, I'm having no problems.

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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:11 pm 
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I finished the damn thing! Another deadline down!
It's only 7 pages, but I think it's really not bad at all.

Only one more thing to finish that I'm not in love with, then FUN ALL THE WAY.
I promised myself.

P.S. Oh and I also wrote about 700 words of a short story. I'm not 100% sure about the ending I have planned, but at least I have a plan, and I like it. Also really good character names. :)


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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:15 pm 
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Yay!!! Woo Hoo! Way to go, Phoenix!!!

Is the thing you're not in love with for an assignment?

I wrote four pages/1400 new words on my novel today but I took it slow and careful and hopefully less and less will wind up on the cutting room floor now. That's what I'm going for this time around. More stuff that sticks.

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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:29 pm 
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Yay, seitanicverses! I'm actually doing the opposite with my creative writing right now. I basically get into automatic writing mode and just let go and write down everything that runs through my mind really fast and never stop until I'm out of associations. Then try not to think about that passage until I'm done with the first draft and can switch to editing mode. It feels liberating.

The thing I'm not in love with is a paper for an upcoming student conference. I really like the topic, but the organizers have been behaving in a more than unprofessional and incompetent way, and I'm only going because I have already paid a horrendous sum for the flight. 'nuff said.
But I've been thinking, and I've come to realize that I've always been a "late bloomer" in every respect and I've always been listening to others and postponed working on my own dreams & ambitions, and life is too short to wait for awesome stuff to happen (and anyway, it never really happens by itself while you just sit on the sofa, does it). So even if things continue like this (meaning the phantom menace that's usually referred to as "the economy" and all that entails) and I end up forever working part-time jobs I'm overqualified for... I'm just going to look at it as something I do in order to eat (and feed the cats) - and I'll be doing everything I love in my free time. If I keep doing it, some good results are bound to happen (because you can't be shiitake at doing things you really love), or at least that's what I hope for.
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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:40 pm 
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I'm totally a late bloomer. I didn't really take up writing until I was 33, when I joined my first workshop. And now, after ten plus years of hardcore training in mostly poetry and now breaking into prose just since around 2008 when I was in my first prose workshop, I feel like I could happily write for the rest of my life. I resent my regular work now, the stuff that takes me away from my creative time.

I still do the free association thing but more for imagery and embedding sensations at this point and getting down what's striking in a scene so I can get that all later in images and you know, for a kind of literary detailing when I get to more of a stylin' phase. I'm still in storytelling phase but cracking down on story stuff now and trying to let only solid things worth pursuing stand. Like I actually wrote six pages+ this morning and if I were Nanoing, the whole six pages would have gone in unedited and I would have called it a day, but I whittled it down to four pages because there was an unneccessary convo that needed to go and just editing stuff like that. I really need to get the story hammered out and am starting to get fussy, but I'm freely associating images and character details and will right through the process, right down to the wire.

As for how you're looking at this, we both look at writing the same way. <3

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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:02 pm 
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<3 seitanicverses.

Oh and now I simply MUST share what I set as my background after my best friend told me I should get all the other stuff out of the way and just write a goddamn bestseller because he was already waiting to buy it for his kindle (love that guy!). So far I'd say it's working, too.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:29 pm 
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Ha! I REALLY want to write a book. I was thinking yesterday that starting as I have late in life, I can push out maybe five books in my career. Really, I just want to write one and then I'll go from there. I don't ever plan to have a poetry book because I just don't think my poetry collectively is strong enough to make a big project of and a short story book--maybe if I can produce enough strong stories over the years to try and release a collection in the distant, distant future but right now, I'm focusing on novel-length projects.

Still going on with my narrative for my novel. Those thousand words every weekday I'm demanding of myself are mighty hard coming. Yesterday, I made myself scrap two sets of thousand word false starts and return to the drawing board three times before I was satisfied with my thousand word output for the day and it was nearly five o'clock when I finished and I had all of three pages after several hours work. And it was supposed to be my day off! But finally, it's coming along! And since starting my new split narrative on February 1, I am collecting a solid pile of keeper work now and every time I read what I've written since then, there's little I want to scrap, so that's good news. This draft around, I hope to lose less than one-third of what I write for it (first draft, I lost around two-third to three-quarters of everything written--and actually by now most of it has been tanked except for some very basic ideas still surviving. Second draft introduced a new subplot of two strong characters that are still in it and I see them surviving because I'm still weaving them into the story but so much of the rest of draft #2 is not being pursued.) But yeah, if I can keep two-thirds of everything I write this draft, I'll consider it a success and even if it isn't a success, I don't care, I'll keep going until I can make it all better somehow. Onward!

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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:20 am 
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Gah. Yesterday, while I was asleep, the protagonist of my short story in progress fell in love with another character. I woke up, and somewhere in my mind it had already happened. I hadn't planned for that! Now I have to rewrite everything I have from a different perspective. I think it's super interesting, though - a) that characters can do stuff behind your back, and b) that not only does it make the story more complex - I think the whole concept works better now.


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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:08 pm 
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Phoenix wrote:
Gah. Yesterday, while I was asleep, the protagonist of my short story in progress fell in love with another character. I woke up, and somewhere in my mind it had already happened. I hadn't planned for that! Now I have to rewrite everything I have from a different perspective. I think it's super interesting, though - a) that characters can do stuff behind your back, and b) that not only does it make the story more complex - I think the whole concept works better now.

Yay! It's great when you start thinking of your characters outside your writing time. I'm right there with you and doing the same thing with mine. And I expect a lot of backtracking when one thing doesn't work, etc. I already have some backtracking to do but it can wait for next draft to do retroactively and I can keep moving forward with where I'm indecisively going for now. I figure it's the process!

Like I keep switching from first to third person narrative, when first gets too restrictive and I need a broader point of view I go to third person but my preferred was first person for each narrator, or at least that's what I set out with. Have to work that out, though, which overall narrative to go with, but doesn't need to be worked out right away, methinks. Need to keep an eye on that, though and work it out consistently in future drafts.

And I assigned two characters the narrative to switch back and forth and I'm switching one of the narrators now (just decided with today's work) but that's all right, not too much trouble at this point to make the change.

We'll see, we'll see. That's what I keep saying to myself is "we'll see!" because nothing and none of this is set. My characters are definitely coming alive though. When I read what I've written, I can feel them and am distinctly starting to picture them and anticipate what they'll do. I'm just trying and trying and going forward hoping it all falls into place somehow. <3 Woot! Let's keep it up!!!

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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:55 pm 
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Oh, the first and third person narration thing keeps happening to me too. I use a first person narrator when I want a narrower perspective, as she will only tell the readers what she knows, and new realizations will come over as major reveals / plot twists. Or the reader realizes more than the narrator does, which makes for superb dramatic irony. For my current story I've switched from third to first person now because I want the emotional factor to be much more prominent (and I think it's working; I almost made myself cry today while writing), and I want the narrator to have a secret...


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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:59 pm 
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P.S. I also added a new quote to my motivational desktop that will hopefully keep me from procrastinating:

"Tomorrow can guzzle a bucket of vulture barf." (Chuck Wendig)

(source: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/02 ... shit-done/)


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 Post subject: Re: The Writers "Kick in the Pants" thread
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:00 pm 
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THis is part of what I'm struggling with, too, in the grand scheme. When to give what away. I was giving it all away at first, but now I've started holding back because I think that's better but things always change as I go along so I'll see...

Do you think it's feasible to switch narratives around a bit? Like just sometimes using first person where it's best and third where it's best? I feel like I've seen it done but can't remember exactly where but feel, on the whole, that maybe that too could be confusing for the reader to follow? Of course if one does it right everything's doable, but I'm quite inexperienced at this. I feel like I should commit to one and stick with it, but my mind is totally open....if you can think of an example where narrative switching is done well, I'd like to see it (like in a classic or published work that I can borrow from the liberry).

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