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message 1: by Dylan (last edited Sep 15, 2008 07:57PM) (new)

Dylan (dmfriend26) | 12 comments I'm writing a book about vampire's. This is what it's about:
A boy is conflicted, because his parents abuse each other. His mom's a drunk, depressed, and angry woman who hurts his dad. He wants to get out of this terrible life, and preys to God he'd die. That's when a vampire comes to him and gives him the dark gift. He learns that being a vampire is much worse than his old life however.
So what do you think? I'm only 16, and I think this sounds pretty good. I don't mean to gloat, sorry. Anyway give me some suggestions. I'm having trouble starting it.

message 2: by Ed (new)

Ed (ejhahn) Dylan,

Please take this advice as it's meant - to be helpful.

1. Your grammar and spelling need much improvement. Many people will not be able to get past your errors to understand the story.

2. Try a short story and get it critiqued here or elsewhere.

3. Keep writing short pieces until you've mastered more of the skill of writing.

4. While you will need a good story ideas to become a writer, good ideas are not enough.

5. Practice, practice, practice.

message 3: by Dylan (new)

Dylan (dmfriend26) | 12 comments Well, I plan to write short stories. And I'll work on my grammer and spelling. Anyway besides those flaws, do you like the idea? Of the story I mean.

message 4: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Bushman | 144 comments The point is not what anyone else thinks of your story, but what do you think of it?

There are only 36 plots in the literary world. The object cannot be what others think, that comes later. The writer has to believe in the story enough to make eventual readers care about the characters; the plot has to be sound and logical and constantly moving forward; the writer has to provide enough sense of place and time, in addition to 3-D characters and sound plotting, to allow the reader to suspend his or her disbelief and enter the writer's world.

So, how much do you believe in your story? Enough to do all of the above, and most importantly, finish?

That's the question you really need to ask and no one but you knows the answer.

I wouldn't worry about the grammar and spelling right now. You pick these up as you continuously read and write. Better you start now with the discipline of reading and writing every day, and finishing what you start.

message 5: by Ed (new)

Ed (ejhahn) Dylan,

I totally support what M.l. said. It's far better advice than I could offer.

Good Luck!

message 6: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Bushman | 144 comments Dylan,

One suggestion to start the book: begin.

Anything that sucks you will cut out later during revision.

I'm working on my sixteenth novel and over time, I've learned that I will most likely delete the first 1000 words or so of my opening simply because they end up being notes to myself on the premise of whatever it is I'm going to write and the story actually starts further down. Think of this as the ice breaker.

I'm a seat of the pants writer, like Stephen King. I don't plot, I don't decide in advance who my characters will be and, in some cases, who will star in the story. I begin with an idea and let 'er rip. I am my book's first reader. And if I can't wait to find out what happens, chances are my readers will eventually feel the same way.

message 7: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (danielt) | 5 comments It's been mentioned before, but I want to reiterate: The one thing that will help your writing the most is reading. Read, read and read more. Every single great writer who's ever lived has also been a great reader. Not only will it inspire you and give you examples (both good and bad) of plotting, pacing, characterization and dialogue, but it will also help you improve your spelling, grammar and vocabulary. (You won't even notice this happening, but it will happen.)

As for your story idea, it sounds fine to me, as long as the story's written well. Personally, I am tired of vampire books, movies and television shows, and think the entire world needs to take a very long break from Count Dracula and his friends. But apparently I'm alone. Those Stephenie Meyer books sell like crazy, and HBO just started showing yet another vampire show. So go for it.

message 8: by Dylan (new)

Dylan (dmfriend26) | 12 comments Thanks everyone. I may do some plot changes, but mabey not. I don't know yet. Anyway thanks for the advise. I will work on my outline first and just write the story. I'll worry about the grammer and revisions later. :D

message 9: by Carmen (new)

Carmen | 12 comments Dylan,

I totally agree that reading and writing is the best way to becoming a better writer.

I further recommend taking a class on writing and reading books about writing. It worked for me.

Although as a child I wanted to be a writer and loved reading, I hated literature, so I went into Science. Years later and after finishing a Ph.D. in Biology, I decided to give my old dream a try. Aware of my limitations I took two courses on writing by mail. The first one taught me the basics about plot, dialogue, character, setting etc. During the two years that took me to complete my second course, I wrote a novel, a slightly revised version of which was published last year.

I don't know if I'd have finished the novel on my own. But I do know that my teacher’s critique and encouragement kept me motivated and on track, and helped me to create a much stronger story.

Among the many books on writing I have read, I recommend Writing Books for Young People by James Cross Giblin and Writing for Children & Teenagers by Lee Wyndham. And yes, I write Young Adults novels, but the advice they give can be extrapolated to any kind of writing.

Going back to your question about your story idea, Writing for Children & Teenagers, includes a 12 Point Recipe for Plotting that, I believe, you will find most useful in the development of your story.

As for spelling and grammar issues, don’t forget to run the spelling check in your computer. Although it doesn’t solve all the problems, it is a great help.

Good luck and keep writing.

message 10: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 35 comments Dylan,

Good for you for wishing to write a novel. Go for it. I think it's a wonderful ambition for a 16 year old, and a very good use of your spare time.

A much better author than I once said, "You cannot edit a blank piece of paper." So, Dylan, start writing, and don't worry about sp/p/g for now.

If you wish to know where to begin: Start your story at the moment when your hero's life changes. You need to fascinate your reader immediately.

Or, you might have a Prologue, perhaps the boy praying to God in his bedroom, trying to shut out the sounds of his mother abusing/screaming at his father as he prays. "God, let me die!" for instance.

Then, Chapter One of your novel would begin with the devil/the vampire approaching him or appearing to him.

Someone told you there are only 36 plots. Ronald Tobias wrote a fab book called "Twenty Master Plots". It's wickedly useful. What is more, you only need to read two chapters at the moment depending on which plot you are using!

You might also enjoy one of Orson Scott Card's manuals, such as How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. I think that's the title... anyway, if it is by Card, published by Writer's Digest books, and has "How To" in the title, you'll get his great advice.

I know you said you are 16, so please forgive me if this is not an appropriate comment, but if you intend to include sex in your work, Elizabeth Bennett's "The Joy Of Writing Sex" is an excellent work on technique that should be taken seriously.

My advice:
Start. Keep writing. When you have a first draft, think about editing, polishing, changing the order of some scenes. Maybe you'll decide to put your first draft in a drawer and take some classes... maybe you won't. Write it now, while you are inspired.

Good luck!

Rowena Cherry
former English teacher, author, mother

message 11: by A.J. (new)

A.J. Dylan: Your idea is good. It's the stuff of literature and legend. However many master plots various people claim exist (3, 7, 20, 36, whatever), this is one. It's Faust, essentially; be careful what you wish for.

The problem ain't the idea, it's the execution. Ideas are a dime a dozen. It's in getting from idea to finished product that you do all your bleeding.

message 12: by Dylan (new)

Dylan (dmfriend26) | 12 comments Thanks everyone! You were all very helpful. I'm going to a college fair soon. I hope to find a good literary/writing college. :D

message 13: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) Hi Dylan,

Kudos! At a young age – you have a challenging goal (to be a fiction writer) and want to know how to reach it.

It takes time to paste all the posts here – we have a Literature folder in the “Happy & Brainy group” which could be of help to you.

To everyone: have a great weekend.

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