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Authors/Writers' Corner > How do you write out your story?

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message 1: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Williams | 128 comments I have learned through the years different ways to bang out sentences and chapters. Some have been great, some not so great.

Just recently with the submission of a book a few weeks ago, my editor gave me GREAT, and I mean GREAT tips and advice.

I have a problem with what I like to call “texture”, those details that flesh out a story. I have to go back ten times to get it right it seems – until now.

This editor, who happens to be a fantastic writer, told me how to do this.

I am a dialogue person. I can bang out great dialogue in no time. If I don’t watch it, I’ll have a full page of dialogue but nothing else.

This is where the advice came in.

She told me no matter how little the dialogue, for example “I got the bag,” she said. She told me to put some sort of action/feeling/thought behind it. She would send my manuscript back with the tag line behind the dialogue like this. “I got the bag,” she said. (What is she feeling/thinking/doing?)

That dialogue sentence would turn into this: “I got the bag,” she said, as she noticed with contempt, her cousin walk into he house without lifting a finger to help.

Now some of you may not have this problem, but I noticed with my writing, I forget these, or didn’t add them to dialogue I didn’t think was important. But as I did this to EVERY piece of dialogue, I noticed my work was a lot richer, and more fleshed out, and people were not talking in a vacuum as my editor would say.

So now I add this to every line of dialogue as I go along OR….I will write nothing but dialogue and GO BACK, and fill it in. sometimes that works better for me.

So after that long post, LOL, how do you write out your story?


message 2: by Arch , Mod (last edited Sep 07, 2010 04:49PM) (new)

Arch  | 6570 comments Mod
I like to write dialogue. My stories reads like a script. I sometimes write my dialogue with just what the person is saying and sometimes, I add the feeling, etc.

I think this way is good for me, since I don't desire to be a published author.


message 3: by Bridget (new)

Bridget Midway (BridgetMidway) | 28 comments I always view my first draft to my story as building a house. I try to write full on dialogue without using a lot of dialogue tags like you were talking about. I'll use action instead. Like I'll say, '"Give me the gun." Her hand trembled as she held it out, waiting for the cold steel to be placed in her palm.' I use strong verbs, staying away from was+verb ending in -ing. Instead of saying, "She was running" I'll say "She ran". It keeps your work from sounding passive. Once I do that. I'll go back and revise. That's what I think of as redecorating. I'll ramp up my sensory details and I'll get into the characters' heads more.

It's a lot of hard work, but it's worth it for a reader to dig the final product.


message 4: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa Johnson (VanessaAJohnson) | 58 comments Great tips, Stephanie. I have a tendency to have the same problem. I can't dialogue you to no end, but have to remember to add the feelings/thoughts of the speaker as well. I also have a tendency to tell more than show...I'm working on that too... Do you outline first? I don't...I just let the character speaking inside my head dictate where the story will go...


message 5: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Sees Love in All Colors (last edited Sep 09, 2010 06:42AM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
I write barebones initially, getting my ideas down on paper. Then, I go back and add details. I will also do research and go in to enrich the narrative.

I had three writing classes that have been very influential on me, and I still use the advice I've learned. I've also read books and articles on writing, and I try to grow as a writer, based on what I've learned. Here are a list of my cardinal rules to writing for me:

1)Show, not tell!
2)Throw the editor in the closet and allow yourself to get creative!
3)Don't create paper tigers!
4)Use dialogue as a narrational device.
5)Keep things active.
6)Conflict is crucial.

I start a lot of my stories with 'what if?' I try to envision how a character would react to a certain situation. I don't want to always write about saintly characters who always do the right thing. I want them to be real, but always sympathetic, or along that path.


message 6: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa Johnson (VanessaAJohnson) | 58 comments What does #3 mean?


message 7: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
Paper tigers are easily defeatable villains.


message 8: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6570 comments Mod
I have never heard of Paper Tiger until today. I learn something everyday, well, maybe not everyday.

Thanks for sharing that information Danielle.


message 9: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa Johnson (VanessaAJohnson) | 58 comments You're right, Arch...learn something new everyday..I hadn't heard of it either. Thanks Danielle.


message 10: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
No problem. I hadn't heard of it either until my writing teacher said it.


message 11: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Williams | 128 comments The history buff here LOL, I heard it when the Japanese called the United States a Paper Tiger before they attacked Pearl Harbor. Hence "Tora, Tora, Tora". Then when we struck back they said They woke a sleeping tiger.

It's a saying meaning that it looks like it can do harm, but it really can't


message 12: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
Thanks, Stephanie. That makes a lot of sense in historical context.


message 13: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6570 comments Mod
Thanks Stephanie.


message 14: by Jessa (last edited Aug 13, 2011 02:36PM) (new)

Jessa Callaver (jessa_callaver) | 14 comments Such a great thread. Thanks for these tips! Writing is such a solitary art, especially for those of us who are novice and/or self-published authors, and so often not until you put it out there for public consumption do you get real feedback; do you realize how much you can and need to improve yet don't always know how. I wonder if the writers here would recommend writing classes for new authors?
I don't do outlines--I never have, not even when I was in college or writing my graduate thesis--but I do write out the storyline as I see it progressing before I begin writing, though it always changes as I write. I also use a program called OpenOffice which allows you to insert little comments in the margins and, I've found, is just a great way to organize your book/e-book as you create. My 2 cents.


message 15: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6570 comments Mod
Hi Jessa. I think that if a writer wants to take a writing class, then they should go for it. Writing is my talent and I strongly believe that I'm not exempt from walking on the perfected road. There's always things that I can learn. I love learning new things. I'm a self taught person myself.

I love writing for fun. This June made 24 years that I have been writing. I don't care to be published. I'm shy when it comes down to my writing, but have taken a bold step and shared some stories on Goodread. I know my stories have holes in them. They aren't flawless.

I write for myself. Always have and always will. I can write a story just for my eyes only and snuggle up to it, like I would to another good catching story.

I will be adding another installment to my story Trespassing on another group, hopefully by tomorrow. I want to get some reading in as while.


message 16: by Jessa (new)

Jessa Callaver (jessa_callaver) | 14 comments Hello Arch :)
First off, I apologize for the mistypes on my last post. =/ I hope I didn't imply that only people who've published their work experience the difficulties of writing b/c that wasn't my intent at all.

I too am self-taught and am extremely self-conscious about my writing style/ability. (Not to mention that these are my first attempts at publishing fiction and it's scary on a whole host of levels to have what you've written out there--especially when it's to be compared to some of the amazingly talented writers already out here.) I think we're all pretty sensitive and protective when it comes to our work though; it's personal. I mean how could it not be. But like you I'm happy and excited to learn better ways to create and compose. There's definitely always room for improvement.

That's amazing that you've been writing for so long! What inspired/inspires you to write?

I was inspired to begin writing fiction after reading e-romance novels and having flashes of what I thought would be a good story emerge from that reading. In the end I think it has to be what speaks to you creatively, or there's no spirit, no spark behind it in a sense...if that makes any sense??

I was actually turned onto GR after connecting with another author where I published my stories and feel so blessed to be surrounded by so much talent. Good to meet you! =]
Arch wrote: "Hi Jessa. I think that if a writer wants to take a writing class, then they should go for it. Writing is my talent and I strongly believe that I'm not exempt from walking on the perfected road. The..."


message 17: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6570 comments Mod
Hi Jessa, I didn't see anything wrong with your post.

You've asked me what inspires me to write. Storytelling. Imagination can take you and others to places they have never been before. I love to travel through reading as well.

It's good to have met you as well. I like talking to felllow writers.


message 18: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
I've taken three writing classes, and they were totally worth it. It really helps to sit down with other writers (trained and otherwise) and discuss the craft. Also, the teachers were all very good about giving constructive and helpful feedback without damaging a writer's self-esteem. My various teachers looked at things I needed help on and gave me great pointers, and I still use those gems of knowledge. And I am a better (not best or great) writer for it.

I need to get back into writing. I just haven't had the time or energy lately.


message 19: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6570 comments Mod
I can't wait to read something from you as well Danielle. I'm patiently waiting for your next installment.

Our busy lives can get in the way of our writing. We all need to just enjoy the break. :)


message 20: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
Thanks, Arch. I would like to see where things go next for Alexei and Karina.


message 21: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6570 comments Mod
Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "Thanks, Arch. I would like to see where things go next for Alexei and Karina."

Me too. :)


message 22: by Mercedes (new)

Mercedes Keyes (mkeyes) | 100 comments Hello everyone, me again... interesting topic.

My writing always starts with a pen and notebook or tablet. I have been known to write out an entire chapter in a notebook, with added notes along the way, reminding myself to be logical. Make sense. Asking my self things like, how likely is this to happen? Very likely, not very likely? While I do lots of dialogue, I have a tendency to fatten a bit too much. So I cut back once I start transferring from the notebook to Word.

Transferring a story that is written out, helps you to not only reread what you have, but make necessary changes as you transfer - adding what you should have added, while taking out the nonsense to keep it real although fiction.

I do a lot of research because my passion is historicals. My husband is a research artists - if I can't find it, I guarantee you he can. He's my best writing buddy, because if by some chance I hit a writers block, he 99.8% of the time pulls me out so I can keep it moving.

Like most writers, I research names. This drives my husband bananas - he always gripes... repeat some names, in the real world, one name will have been repeated over millions of times for centuries. And because of him, I'm a name repeater, LOL. In fact, my drama series Bomaw, has 2 Jackies, 2 Derricks, Dereks, and I've been known to use at least one name repeatedly in everything I've written, LOL - I'm beginning to like doing that... however, I still research and give my lead characters distinctive names.

I write - I read back over it - I leave it and continue on writing, then I read back over that, correct what I find wrong, and then continue on writing. After I have about 3 or 4 chapters, I leave the whole thing for a few days, and focus on writing my drama series Bomaw - doing an episode of that, which I do all the same things to, once I have plenty of it, I go back to the novel and I pick it back up and start over at the beginning - reading it as if with fresh eyes. Something that sounded good last week now seems like a stupid thing to write or say, it's gone or reworded. I pretty much carry on like that to the end.


message 23: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6570 comments Mod
I write for fun. I have been writing for 24 years. This June made 24 years. I do 99.9% of my writing in my head. Sometimes, I can write pages of work in my head, before I sit down and type my stories.

I usually know my ending, before I know my beginning.

My characters tend to have unique names. My titles tend to be unique as well.

I'm shy when it comes down to my own work, but I have taken the chance and shared my stories on Goodreads. I have a story on here and another group. I have a private group, where I post my stories as well. I have 4 stories on there.

My stories aren't flawless. Again, I write for fun. Writing is my talent and yes, I can learn a lot about writing.


message 24: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
It takes too long for me to write in long hand, and my hand starts to cramp, so I do all my writing on the computer.

Arch, I'm glad you have shared your stories with us. You are a very good writer, and your stories have a very unique, personal feel to them.


message 25: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6570 comments Mod
Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "It takes too long for me to write in long hand, and my hand starts to cramp, so I do all my writing on the computer.

Arch, I'm glad you have shared your stories with us. You are a very good wri..."


Thanks Danielle. :)


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