The Creative Writer's Toolbelt discussion

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message 1: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Chamberlain (andychamberlain) | 272 comments Mod
Hi guys,

Are you a regular CWT listener? Have you found yourself shouting at the podcast words to the effect of:

"Why hasn't he covered XXX yet? What could be more important than XXX!?"

The news is I am in a state of ignorance about what XXX is, so please enlighten me ;-)

Post your ideas in the thread here for future episodes.

Thx
Andy


message 2: by Sondra (new)

Sondra (sondraannturnbull) | 1 comments I haven't made my way through all the episodes yet, but I'm hoping for comma insights somewhere along the way. Please, let there be a spotlight on commas.
Cheers,
Sondra


message 3: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Chamberlain (andychamberlain) | 272 comments Mod
Hi Sondra

Ah yes, punctuation.

See I tend to think I am on top of things when it comes to punctuation, but a lot of my beta readers and other well meaning literary persons tend to look sideways at where I leave commas, semicolons, and the like.

Plus, I have a bit of an issue with semicolons in that someone once reviewed my work and told me to take out all of the semicolons because no one uses them in fiction any more, which is a bunch of nonsense. Since then I've always tried to use them; when I can...

I haven't come to the point in my podcast plan where I'd have covered punctuation but I will do it, probably with a guest speaker because I suspect it's a blind spot for me. So, no punctuation yet, and no commas, but it will come, it will come.

Andy


message 4: by Kate (new)

Kate Rauner (katerauner) | 26 comments Semicolons! Somehow they look "funny" to my eye, so I've taken to using a dash instead. That should be an em dash, but it looks to me like Smashwords (which I use) doesn't support em dashes. So I use space-hyphen-space. Which - I know - is wrong. But will readers notice? I like the way it looks on my screen or page.

This is the sort of mulishness that gets low marks from the grammar teacher, but as an Indie I am free to be wrong... or, am I?


message 5: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Chamberlain (andychamberlain) | 272 comments Mod
Hi Kate

As an indie writer you are free to be wrong, and the more copies you sell, the more wrong you can be ;-)

But really, punctuation feels like a black art to me, and whilst I love a good semicolon; the nuances of commas, semicolons, ellipsis, etc etc can be a bit slippery. When I find someone who is not from the grammar police, but knows what they are talking about and can present the subject in a sensible and accessible way that everyone can feel comfortable with - then I'll get them to talk about it on the podcast.

Reading that last paragraph makes it sound like I want someone to talk to us about sex ed (!) then again maybe there's something in that analogy...

Best wishes!

Andy


message 6: by Kate (new)

Kate Rauner (katerauner) | 26 comments Listening to this podcast reminds me of something important you all should know - the length of Andy's podcasts is perfect! I'm sick of recordings (vid or audio) that start with 15 minutes of self-congratulations or why the topic is important - I wouldn't be listening if I didn't think so! Some people "jam" 15 minutes of info into an hour! Andy starts each topic right away and gets into the meat. Well done!


message 7: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Chamberlain (andychamberlain) | 272 comments Mod
Thanks Kate, I really appreciate that! ;-)
I want to keep the BS to an absolute minimum with these podcasts. And if I start to get 'self-congratulatory' please do tell me.

Cheers
Andy


message 8: by Paul (new)

Paul | 13 comments Hi Andy,
I haven't made my way through the full list of pod casts yet but have you ever covered the art of writing a synopsis?
I am struggling to see how I can keep mine to, the requested 300 words, when I have four main characters.

Thanks,

Paul


message 9: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Chamberlain (andychamberlain) | 272 comments Mod
Hi Paul,

Synopses can be hard! A couple of quick bits of advice would be - don't focus on the characters, try to think about the story and write a synopsis of that, and when you write it, to start with forget about the 300 word limit, write the synopsis and make it as long as it needs to be: 500, 1000 words, whatever is required. Then when it's done go back and refine it (keeping copies along the way) with a view to chipping away at it and talking out the bits that you think you won't need. This is a n intensive process, but you will get down to 300 words in the end.

BW
Andy


message 10: by Paul (new)

Paul | 13 comments Thanks Andy, sounds like a good approach.


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