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10:14 AM
Bam! Case study questions are up.
Later in the day, I'll see if I can stir up any interest on Lit.SE and SF.SE.
 
 
7 hours later…
5:40 PM
Chat event! Chat event!
haven't had one of these in ages :)
 
Not sure why the system message says it's going on "right now", it starts in 20 minutes. But hello everybody!
 
I think that's a relative "right now."
Punchier than "very shortly."
 
For a second, I thought I messed up on the time and I was late getting to my own event.
 
heh.
I'm going to be spotty for another 15-20 minutes until my wife gets back home.
Whatcha think of the case-study questions?
 
Hard for me to follow, since I haven't read the books. But the format has potential. It might also be a good way to get people into the site via cross-promotion?
Maybe?
BRB, gonna go make lunch.
 
5:51 PM
Hmmm. What books have you read?
 
That would take a while. Big fan of Twain, Vonnegut, Mieville
John Varley, Simon Winchester
Gene Wolfe, Neil Gaiman
Just never got into Rowling or Martin.
 
ah, well :)
unfortunately, I don't think any of those but Gaiman would be broad enough to kick off this type of question
And Gaiman, I feel, is much more appropriate for discussion/critique than problem/solution. Gaiman doesn't go in straight lines :P
 
He's certainly popular enough that it would attract attention.
 
Yeah, but what would you ask?
Q. "I would like my work to feel heavy with significant references to history and foreign cultures."
A. "GO LEARN SOME HISTORY AND FOREIGN CULTURES."
Q. "How does Gaiman come up with plots?"
A. "What plots?"
 
I was blogging about opening lines the other day, and I was looking for examples. The opening to American Gods is neither flashy nor something that will grab the reader in the sense of a potboiler line, but it's quite effective. I'd be interested in learning why.
It wasn't a good example for the blog post - I was looking for simpler examples - but it got me thinking.
 
6:04 PM
Well, there you go, then :)
 
But it'd be nice if the question were more than "why does this work?"
 
I think I recall Gorky Park having a hell of a bang for its opening. Can't recall the details, though, and i don't have the book on hand.
This is true,
but you might be able to help by expanding what you mean when you say "it works" - describing the desired effect.
 
So it's a reverse critique question?
 
Maybe?
 
So we should follow those guidelines but in reverse.
- Specific question about the text
- Needs to avoid "this is a cool book, tell me why it works"
In a critique, the real-world problem is that the asker has writing that's not working.
What's the real-world problem in an analysis question?
 
6:12 PM
it's usually "X knows how to do Y, I want to do Y, too."
But sometimes it's not real-world. sometimes it's "X had a problem, let's solve that problem (even though we don't actually need to)".
 
Welcome, @GabeWillard @TimStone!
 
I like the questions @Standback posted. I can't answer them all, because I still have yet to read Martin or Collins, but hey lol.
And hello. :)
 
:)
Oooo! I've got super-devilish rep!
 
One other question: Gaiman is a tremendously popular author. People are probably going to upvote the question because of the author I'm using as an example.
Any thoughts on how to avoid that?
 
I dunno. I'm not sure that'd be a problem. Wait and see what I get for Rowling and Martin :P
 
6:17 PM
(Not a problem now, but if the site gets more traffic, it'll become like posting XKCD cartoons to get upvoted.)
 
No idea.
Wish that were a major concern at the moment :P
Hi everybody!
So, at this pace we have a whole ten minutes for each of our WIP's :P
Anybody wanna start?
(Hmmm, shouldn't we have had one of those event is now starting announcements?)
 
Event is starting twenty-two minutes ago.
 
Yaaaaay!
Well, then. Now does anybody want to start?
 
TLP
Explain the event?
 
Because otherwise I will :P
Sure :)
Informal little get-together for our happy little band.
Since having a clear topic gives us a fallback in case we start boring each other,
 
6:24 PM
@TLP - The event is a chat about what people are working on right now.
 
today's topic is discussing what people are writing now.
So everybody can talk about their work-in-progress, and.... then we know what other folks are up to, more or less :)
 
TLP
Does procrastinating by posting on StackExchange count?
Because that's what I'm working on at the moment ;)
 
I've been working on the very beginnings of writing a fantasy story I've been mulling over for around 6 years now.
 
@TLP: No fair! That's what everybody else wanted to say too!
 
Do you work from an outline, or make it up as you go?
 
6:28 PM
@GabeWillard: Ooooh. Tell us more, please :)
 
TLP
Beginnings are hard. Start with the end and work your way backwards. =)
 
Well that's just it. I have been making it up as I went. Now I have a plate of spaghetti to put back in the package. :P Have been going back and organizing things. Really been working on defining my characters recently.
 
TLP
Elaborate
 
Yes, please.
 
Tell us something cool about it :D
 
TLP
6:32 PM
Are you writing, or did you run away? =)
 
I tend to see things like a movie director. I have a lot of compelling scenes, but tying them together has been challenging. I am finally starting to get the in betweens filled in. Hmm. Something cool. Well I'm making my own mythology for the background based on elemental deities. lol
 
TLP
Tell your story in the form: Boy does this. Boy finds girl. ..To give us a quick idea.
 
That is neat! That's tough to pull off - elements are very... clear in some ways, but they're also faceless and impersonal until you actually start doing stuff with them.
@TLP: Well, if he wants. he might not have such a succinct summary quite yet :)
 
TLP
I'll bet you that he does have it in his mind, though.
 
wait and see :)
 
6:36 PM
Main character is a young military leader. There is a new evil to confront, he goes and fights, discovers theres more to himself than he knew. Gathers companions, and quests to defeat true evil. sort of standard fantasy stuff, really. It's the world and characters that are most impressive to me.
 
:)
 
TLP
What's his main goal? Besides "defeat evil wherever it may be"
 
Well, my own Works in Progress are more like Works in Limbo.
But I've got two. One that I actually work on; one that needs a ton of planning so I haven't really been able to dive into it yet.
 
To live up to his deceased father's name. His father was a famous military strategist who died in the last war. He wants to uphold his fathers name, and make his own.
Yay for planning.
 
TLP
So his goal is to make a career?
 
6:42 PM
The working-on one is about a simulated reality game that's been left on for generations. The characters know they're simulated, not real - and their society's formed around these unusual circumstances.
 
TLP
@Standback Lets talk a bit about Gabe's story first.
 
Have at it @Standback, I've rambled enough lol.
 
TLP
lol, stage fright? =)
 
And @TLP, his goal is more family driven than a simple career, really...
Well, no, but we don't have all day do we? lol
 
TLP
I do. =)
@Standback Sort of like Tad Williams Otherland series?
 
6:46 PM
@TLP @GabeWillard I'm fine one way or the other; no rush. I mostly started on because I feel like we're stabbing blindly at Gabe's story without him having much in particular he wanted to say.
@TLP I don't think so - IIRC, there were emergent societies there, but the protagonist was an outsider.
 
TLP
Was there a protagonist? With TW its hard to tell sometimes.
Oh yes, the girl, that's right.
 
Indeed. To an extent, I keep a lot to myself. Hopefully someday you'll all read it. :)
 
TLP
@Standback Are you writing something, or were you done?
 
It's mostly focused on a primary character who desperately wants to get "out" - to be able to reach the real world. But the other characters consider this world real, significant - and, CONFLICT.
(sorry, needed to get something for my daughter suddenly)
So to her friends, she's self-destructive. She herself feels desperately trapped.
That's the one...
The perpetually-in-planning one is an SF detective story.
There, the concept is that people can conveniently make temporary clones of themselves, and merge with them pretty much at any later point - their memories are merged back together.
 
TLP
That would be convenient.
 
6:54 PM
it's a kinda cool setting for all kinds of mystery-enabling mischief, and it lets me do lots of cool stuff with the detective as well.
 
definitely sounds interesting. :)
 
TLP
Kind of makes alibis useless, though. =)
 
It does! }:-)
 
not if you can spoof digital evidence ;)
 
I can send the detective off in different directions... and let the reader find out what each double does... and then have the perfect justification for the detective putting everything together all at once!
 
TLP
6:57 PM
Puts another spin on the "Aha!"-moment in most detective stories
 
exactly :D
 
TLP
Although you have to worry about it becoming too literal
 
Problem with the first one is, even though I've got very clear setting and characters, my sequence isn't gelling into something coherent and whole. I've mostly got a bunch of characters yelling at each other.
And with the second... I'm not coming up with a mystery plot I'm even slightly enthused with.
I think my very first question on Writers.SE had to do with mystery plotting... still not sure about that :P
 
TLP
Usually, mystery plots in detective stories revolve around murder =)
Or conspiracy
 
Try watching a couple of episodes of Veronica Mars, just for variety :P
 
6:59 PM
it's very difficult to surprise people in an original way anymore... makes mysteries hard.
 
Tell me about it.
I've got rough characters... but I'm finding detective "feel" really hard to just flow with. How do I butt-in-chair and just write when the detective needs to know way more than I do just to utter a sentence?
 
i imagine that'd be doubly hard with a scifi universe.
 
TLP
Why does he need to know?
 
Can you sit down and just goddamn write a scene where Sherlock Holmes buys a cup of coffee? I can't.
 
TLP
Heh
That reminds me of the dialogue exercise I wrote yesterday
 
7:02 PM
it'd be full of, "Yes, thanks for the coffee. By the by, I observe that <something really smart and impressive>".
"OMG1111!!! How'd you know?" replied the barrista."
:-/
 
TLP
In my experience, detective stories are written from the end backwards. The protagonist starts out not knowing anything, and works his way towards knowledge. Why would he know the story beforehand?
 
Hey, it's 2pm and I gotta get going. Should we schedule another chat for next week at the same time?
 
well, I'd personally focus on making the character believable. Not every interesting detective is Sherlock Holmes. :)
 
@GabeWillard : Well, I kinda see mine as being somewhat Holmesian.
Not... entirely.
But he needs to be fast.
I'm seeing this as a short story, which means I don't have time for him to wonder and collect his thoughts.
And I love superior characters, even if they're harder to write :P
I guess I'm also somewhat invested in his character. I could come up with something else but... he's gotta have some sort of style.
@NeilFein not sure I can make it regularly. But we'll see :)
@TLP: Less "he knows the answer". More "he's really good at finding out."
 
@Standback - We can change the time, would later be better? I can't make anything earlier than this of its on Monday. Wednesdays are more flexible for me.
 
7:08 PM
@NeilFein awww, we didn't even get to hear about anything you're working on :-/
 
I see. Then you might want to try thinking backwards. I think @TLP mentioned that. Focus on the end, and you know all the inputs. You can spread them throughout the story from there.
 
it's less a timing issue.
 
I'm an editor. My novel is safely hidden away.
 
Also, make darn sure you have a clearly defined universe. I mean... that'll be a massive part of it.
 
More that I have a much easier time putting in a few minutes here and there, than committing in advance to being on the computer an hour straight at any particular given time.
 
7:09 PM
Although I am working on lyrics to a song. Will maybe talk about them next week if the song works out. Right now it's kinda whiny and annoying.
 
@GabeWillard I agree. Hence, planning planning planning.
 
Oh, okay. I'll keep it at this time on Mondays, for now.
 
Neil Fein has added an event to this room's schedule.
Neil Fein has removed an event from this room's schedule.
 
@NeilFein Well, you know me. I'm happy to hear about editing too :)
 
Neil Fein has added an event to this room's schedule.
Neil Fein has removed an event from this room's schedule.
Neil Fein has added an event to this room's schedule.
 
7:12 PM
Okay, it took me three tries to get the time right, but I set this up as a recurring event.
Later everyone!
 
TLP
Bye Neil
So is that it? We just mention what we're writing on? =P
You've done critters too?
 
well, it's mostly in the way of a conversation starter.
indeed I have :)
I still consider Critters one of the great blessings of the internet.
 
TLP
I've critted a few stories in there, but never posted one.
critiqued*
It's a good tool, but sometimes it feels like very hard work.
 
I put up two - back when I was 16-ish, and actually writing regularly :)
Depends.
I always enjoyed it, but sometimes it took up too much of my time.
I'm a natural critic.
 
TLP
16-ish? That'd make you 20-ish now then?
I'm a natural perfectionist, which makes me a very thorough critic =P
 
7:21 PM
Heh. Nope. I'm 28.
Critters is OLD.
 
TLP
That is 20-ish.. =P
That'd make critters like 12+ years
 
I still use the same format. Read the whole thing; quote snippets for initial reaction as I go. Then go back at the end for the "big" things and stuff I understand better about the story as a whole.
 
TLP
I did not know that.
I have to prevent myself from becoming too nitpicking.
Sometimes I'm halfway through a story and I realise this story is irredeemable, which is frustrating
 
I know. I hate that.
It's kind of shifting from "let's see if I can help you out here" over to "how can I constructively and politely let you know this piece sucks?".
i actually swapped from Critters over to a review site at one point
And the stories were much better,
though a disappointing number were still pretty darned awful.
 
TLP
Review site?
 
7:27 PM
Currently defunct. At the time, they were called The Fix Online. Some relation of Tangent.
 
TLP
I'd like something like StackExchange for a review site.
 
They got good stuff. Standalone novellas, Card's F/SF online magazine, Strahn's Eclipse anthology.
 
TLP
Though I suppose writers does come close
 
I read some really good stuff there. Also some really bad stuff.
?
How would that work?
Wouldn't that just be Amazon? :p
 
TLP
Post texts, get reviewed
upvoted, downvoted =)
amazon?
 
7:29 PM
Well, not for short fiction.
Though now with kindle publishing... that too, sometimes :)
 
TLP
I suppose there'd be trouble with keeping the material "unpublished" if its on the internet
 
At The Fix I got this incredible novella of Joe Hill's, Gunpowder. Limited print; by the time you'd hear about how awesome it is, it wasn't available.
My copy's just a PDF, of course. but I got it, and i cherish those bits and bytes to this very day.
 
TLP
I always wonder how profitable it is writing those short stories
When reading about it, it seems mostly like you have to wait several months to maybe be payed a pittance. =P
 
Ever wondered how profitable it is writing anything else? :P
 
TLP
I try not to =P
A Spotify for writers.
That'd be something.
 
7:35 PM
What's Spotify?
 
TLP
Its a music service where you can listen to music without buying it. Legally.
They generate revenue by premium account services and advertising.
 
Ah, yes. one of those marvelous online services that don't function abroad because of copyright issues.
 
TLP
Actually, I think it works rather well.
 
does it? cool. I'll take a look.
anyhoo, I need to be off.
Nice chatting :) Thanks for joining in!
 
TLP
Ok. Nice chat
no problem =P
 
7:40 PM
bye!
 

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