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message 1: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 109 comments No need to play oneupsman here.

I know from related experiences of other writers that writing children's books can be just as daunting as an 300 page detective novel.


My personal most daunting writing project (that I believe I can finish, not counting those lame attempts at t.v. scripts I've tried and just got tired of), has got to be this choose your own adventure book.

I've written sci fi. Sci fi comedy. Fairy Tale type Romance (not the steamy crap but rather love conquers all stuff). Fantasy. Even a children's comic strip.

But I have to say, this choose your own adventure novel I'm writing is certainly the most difficult. I have to keep my spread sheet nice and orderly (to track options), while leading my readers on trips of misdirection, and keeping the grammar and storylines cohesive.

Even though there's only one "true" path, the fake ones are turning out to be far more difficult as I need to make the fake ones look real in order to trick the reader!

Speaking as someone who used to regularly outthink his AD&D gaming buddies, I have to outhink myself while making sure I don't leave any loose ends! Normally I can finish a 400 page novel in about 6 weeks, but I'm already 3 months into this and only at around 350 pages, including copy/paste jobs.


So what's your most difficult writing experience?


message 2: by Brian (new)

Brian Dragonuk (bdragonuk) | 1 comments For Me it is Simple
Any writing Project is the most difficult/daunting writing project I ever started.

I explain it this way "I'm very well edigablicated and speech real good sometimes - I type with 1 finger (up to 30 mistakes a minute)so I'm writing a book".


Actually it was a Movie Script first. Great idea, storyline, well developed characters and I could not get the words in the script to advance the story correctly.

I could tell you everything about anything in the movie but could not write the words I needed.

So I had others choose my words for me.

I wrote an outline, character description and basic storyline for the other 2 movie ideas I had and started writing my 1st book.

It is about 3/4 finished and I hope to have it published by the end of the year.

Please stop by my profile
http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/17...
and add me as your friend

Brian Dragonuk

Do a google search on me

www.bdragonuk.com

Internet Movie Data Base
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1299096/

Internet Movie Data Base -Other works
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1299096/ot...

The Biz- Variety
http://thebiz.variety.com/people/bria...

Casting Frontier
http://database.castingfrontier.com/p...

Acting Jobs Photo Album
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Acting Jobs Photo Album
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message 3: by Anony-miss (last edited Jan 30, 2009 04:50PM) (new)

Anony-miss a-non-y-miss | 10 comments I haven't published anything yet, but the story I'm writing now is pretty tricky, for a first time. Of course, it helps to read a lot of children books to get a good gist of things - but I don't complain on the toughness of making the story suitable for kids. When I reread it, it shows a lot of dark sides. Not that dark is a bad element to the story . . . but yes, it is fun to work and shape a story :)


message 4: by Pat (new)

Pat Whitaker (whitakerbooks) | 54 comments My current story. There is one challenge in writing that fascinates me, and this is my second attempt at it (the first I abandoned, it didn't work).

What I'm trying to do is write from a non-human perspective. In this story, I want the reader to identify with the principle character (an alien, sentient parasite) and experience our world from it's perspective - and without any anthropomorphism's. This makes the language extremely difficult, as all our terminology is of necessity terrestrial.

Wish me luck!


message 5: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 109 comments Pat, that is very interesting. There is something I learned that may help you though: Most of what people incorrectly consider to be anthropomorphisizing is really not exclusive to the human condition.

There are elements of behavior which are universal in all the animal kingdoms. Having done studies and reports on various animals, not to mention watching my weekly animal shows ;) I gotta tell ya the differences which separate species aren't always in that great of number. The differences themselves may be huge in behavior, but the number of differences isn't always that great.

For example:

Anthropomorphing tigers would be like this -
"Tiga was excited about her date, and maybe she just might land that hunk of her dreams!"
"Shere Kahn took out a fistful of bananas to buy some new fur dye from Baloo."

Non Anthropomorphing would be like this -
"Tiga was disgruntled, and her emotions were high. She knew it was near time to find a male, but she didn't particularly like the males in her area. They'd have to approach her for permission first."
While it seems like Anthro, it's not. It's an accurate translation of how the average Tiger usually conducts their mating.

"Shere Kahn didn't consider the bird to be prey. Although it was irritating enough to cause his ear to twitch, he would leave it alone on the chance it had something good to say."
Predators such as Tigers routinely use the signals from surrounding wildlife to determine what is in their territory. So while some may consider that to be Anthro, it's really not :D

I have no idea how your book is being written, so maybe I'm off base, but on the offchance I hope that I helped you to reevaluate what you might think of anthro as not actually being anthro at all :D


message 6: by Pat (new)

Pat Whitaker (whitakerbooks) | 54 comments Kevin wrote: "Pat, that is very interesting. There is something I learned that may help you though: Most of what people incorrectly consider to be anthropomorphisizing is really not exclusive to the human cond..."

You are right, of course, and your examples excellent, however, it is only part of the story.

My first attempt at this was in my book Anthithesis, which has a mymrcologist studying a colony of ants with rapidly evolving social behaviours. I wanted to show what was happening inside the colony and could only do this if sections of the narrative were from the ants perspective. I did not want to do a "Watership Down". The trouble is, that although there are broad parallels in some behaviours, we can only assume that the thought processes of an ant in a colony are radically different from ours.

Your examples deal with animals than zoologically are very closely related to us, the gulf between us and insects is considerably wider. I gave up and didn't use the idea at all, but it still intrigues me and hence my current effort.



message 7: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (jozanny) | 16 comments Pat wrote: What I'm trying to do is write from a non-human perspective. In this story, I want the reader to identify with the principle character (an alien, sentient parasite) and experience our world from it's perspective - and without any anthropomorphism's.

If you really want to do this, it has to come from a third person POV, and even then, if the human animal cannot relate to your alien life forms, what is the point? Don't go into the alien's head, because if you do that you humanize it. Use the perspective of an observer explaining the behavior.

Kevin, both of your descriptions humanize tigers, sorry. Only a purely clinical description of the mating process doesn't assume humans understand what cats feel.

Science fiction has to incorporate human elements.




message 8: by Pat (new)

Pat Whitaker (whitakerbooks) | 54 comments Joanne wrote: "Pat wrote: What I'm trying to do is write from a non-human perspective. In this story, I want the reader to identify with the principle character (an alien, sentient parasite) and experience our wo..."

Yes, Joanne, science fiction does have to incorporate human elements, and that is the whole point of the exercise - to examine the human condition from the outside. I failed with the ants in part because I had a specific species to deal with, in this case I can use a species that has a high intelligence, culture, technology and so on.

There are compromises of course, and many involve language. As I am writing in English, the aliens view of necessity is related in English. The main assumption I made is that science is universal (an unproven, but not unreasonable assumption.) Therefore if the alien's views are couched in scientific terms (in English) and the compromise is at least contained. For example, the alien may be described as lying on a surface, rather than on the ground, as 'surface' is a scientific term and 'ground' a human one (ignoring the fact that they are human scientific terms, of course).

It isn't easy, but I think it is worth the effort.




message 9: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 109 comments Joanne, I'm sorry but I do not believe you are correct. What you are confusing with Anthro is literary extrapolation. Literary extrapolation of this sort is also used on humans. The argument that "we can't understand what they're thinking" is also useable against historical fiction "we can't understand what Braveheart felt".

It has nothing to do with Anthro, and everything to do with literary extrapolation.

The whole idea of Literary Extrapolation is that it's not scientific. If you want to eliminate that type of literary tongue, you have to apply those conditions to humanity as well, which completely eliminates everything in a bookstore outside of forensics reports.


message 10: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 109 comments Pat,
Ok, I see what you are having difficulty with. Yes, ants especially have confused science and scientific studies, and it is a daunting issue to resolve. ^_^


message 11: by Pat (new)

Pat Whitaker (whitakerbooks) | 54 comments Kevin wrote: "Pat,
Ok, I see what you are having difficulty with. Yes, ants especially have confused science and scientific studies, and it is a daunting issue to resolve. ^_^"


Kevin, In the end, the ant story worked out fine without this viewpoint (well, in my opinion anyway) but it was a bit of an intellectual cop-out.

I consoled myself with addressing the technology the ants develop - advanced and paralleling ours, but definitely not human. It was an interesting exercise in itself. (without wanting to seem conceited, I can send you a PDF if you're interested)



message 12: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 109 comments I may not be able to read much, but sure! here's my email broken up in such a way to stop spambots. It's an AOL account so it's got that dot com after, and it's dalbozofgurth.

^_^

Don't be offended if it takes me a week to read it. I've been busy -_-


message 13: by Will (last edited Feb 02, 2009 07:31PM) (new)

Will (oldbosun) | 6 comments Pat wrote: "My current story. There is one challenge in writing that fascinates me, and this is my second attempt at it (the first I abandoned, it didn't work).

What I'm trying to do is write from a non-human..."


'I've been living on this planet for nearly eight decades. I understand you because you're simple, and yes, we cuss when we hit our equivalent of a thumb with our equivalent of a hammer, just like you. But, Human, you couldn't even begin to understand my hammer, much less me.'

Think of your alien, with a voice dripping with unintended contempt simply because what's familiar to him - his world - doesn't require explanation. He already understands it and understands that the human is incapable of grasping either the situation or that viewpoint. Of course, if he'd been living here for 80 years, he'd be more courteous than to say that out loud....even so, this type of thinking would only happen when the alien was directly relating to a human.

Yeah, that could be frightening.



message 14: by Pat (new)

Pat Whitaker (whitakerbooks) | 54 comments Will wrote: "Pat wrote: "My current story. There is one challenge in writing that fascinates me, and this is my second attempt at it (the first I abandoned, it didn't work).

What I'm trying to do is write from..."


Are you suggesting, Will, that I shouldn't try? Once people could not imagine what it was like not to live in a cave. Imagining what isn't, is the entire sum of our achievements.




message 15: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 109 comments I think he's suggesting an approach closer to method acting. Make an entire fictitious society, with alien like emotional responses, pretend your from that society and then apply that knowledge against what you perceive as every day human activities :D


message 16: by Pat (new)

Pat Whitaker (whitakerbooks) | 54 comments Kevin wrote: "I think he's suggesting an approach closer to method acting. Make an entire fictitious society, with alien like emotional responses, pretend your from that society and then apply that knowledge ag..."

I think that is what I'm trying to do. The reader doesn't learn much about the alien's society until the latter part of the book, but it's there.

How different from us? Well, that's just conjecture, as we cannot know how different an alien's mind and emotions are to ours - and we can't assume that there is any one answer - but I have the advantage. It is 'my' alien and it is anything I want it to be. That is the license that fiction provides, I just have to win the mind of the reader.


message 17: by Pat (last edited Feb 02, 2009 10:28PM) (new)

Pat Whitaker (whitakerbooks) | 54 comments Will wrote: "Pat wrote: "My current story. There is one challenge in writing that fascinates me, and this is my second attempt at it (the first I abandoned, it didn't work).

What I'm trying to do is write from..."


Actually, Will, there is another factor in all this of which you are not aware, The alien is not unfamiliar with viewing worlds and species with an unprejudiced mind.

The alien, an advanced sentient species with a history of interstellar exploration, is a parasitic fluke (as in liver fluke etc), that embeds itself in it's host's brain, and cannot exist without a host - other than momentarily. It is not familiar with our planet or the species it is put into, as it has been exiled here as punishment for a crime.

Initially, it finds itself in a wolf, but later migrates to a human in it's attempt to get home. It must try to understand us and our world because it is a part of it.

OK, so it sounds weird, but as I said earlier, the underlying idea to to look at us and our society from the outside - from an unbiased perspective.

I know you think I can't, and you may be right, but I would rather learn that by failing than not attempt it at all.




message 18: by Will (new)

Will (oldbosun) | 6 comments Pat wrote: "Will wrote: "Pat wrote: "My current story. There is one challenge in writing that fascinates me, and this is my second attempt at it (the first I abandoned, it didn't work).

What I'm trying to do ..."


Nononononono. Keep going. Use "local" alien resources as a model for that alien strangeness: for most women, it's fairly easy to comprehend the surface thought processes and worldview of a man. What if the roles were reversed? If you were a man, would you be able to read the mind of a woman?



message 19: by Pat (new)

Pat Whitaker (whitakerbooks) | 54 comments Will wrote: "Pat wrote: "Will wrote: "Pat wrote: "My current story. There is one challenge in writing that fascinates me, and this is my second attempt at it (the first I abandoned, it didn't work).

What I'm t..."


I think you're wanting a different book. As I said to Kevin, from this perspective, man and tiger are indistinguishable, as are man and woman. To look for "human" alien models is to look for human models. Another shade of pink is still pink.

And do you realy think women can understand the thought processes of men? Not even men can do that.





message 20: by Will (new)

Will (oldbosun) | 6 comments Both points, I will concede, are well taken.


message 21: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (wwwgoodreadscompatriciajsmith) | 8 comments Pat,
Hummmmmm,
While I can imagine the challenges you are facing. lol
I think the best solution is to just relax, have fun with it and let your imaginative juices flow.
Just let it happen, you can always go back and change sentences, etc.
You may be like me, putting to much pressure on your self and analyzing each paragraph to death.
Your book sounds like an amazing read. Let me know when your ready to share. lol
Have Fun
Happy Writing,
Patricia
Always Keep Your Dreams Alive
http://www.freewebs.com/blessedbeps
oops, oh yes, my hardest work was Fore-Warned. Not because of the story line but because of that awful word editing, editing, editing. lol


message 22: by Pat (new)

Pat Whitaker (whitakerbooks) | 54 comments Hi Patricia,

Funnily enough, the first five books I wrote I didn't analyse at all. I had no notes, no plot, no characters - only an idea -and I just wrote. I didn't even read anything I'd written until it was finished.

The only reason I did so with this story was that I was not sure I could achieve what I intended at all. If I couldn't, the whole story was a non-starter.

I am now satisfied that it does work (doesn't mean it's any good, of course) and I'm away - I'm no longer reading anything, and the story is flowing nicely.

Pat.


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

This past December I challeneged myself to write 2,000 words each day and complete a novel within the month. There were several days where I simply couldn't go the distance, and several times I nearly made myself sick (if you want to lose weight, write a novel!!!), but on December 27th., I finished "Shaddai", an allegory for Advent reading. Needless to say, I was a little amazed. :-D I've never been a fan of writing under time limits or under pressure, I'd always worked on inspiration before, but this was something I was pretty sure I could do and the novel is now standing at over 100 pages and around 50,000 words, which is a real novel in my opnion. This is actually my second novel; I finished my first one, a fantasy, a few years ago and I'm trying to edit it now. I'm also writing a fantasy/allegory and a thriller, plus co-authoring a novel about a writers' group I'm a member of and writing a nonsensical short book with my two younger siblings.
If anyone would like to see "Shaddai", I posted the whole thing at http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/Savi... and feedback would be greatly appreciated.
May God bless you, and may His hand guide your pens!
-Jack


message 24: by Kathy-Diane (new)

Kathy-Diane This might sound weird, but its always the novel I'm currently starting. I have an idea that catches fire, but forever experience the niggling worry over whether I'll be able to carry it the long haul to THE END. Of course this keeps me writing, and I always do manage to hit the finish line, but not without gnawing my fingernails to nubs. (Did I mention I love it???)

Kathy-Diane
author of LET THE SHADOWS FALL BEHIND YOU
http://kathy-dianeleveille.com


message 25: by Pat (new)

Pat Whitaker (whitakerbooks) | 54 comments Kathy-diane wrote: "This might sound weird, but its always the novel I'm currently starting. I have an idea that catches fire, but forever experience the niggling worry over whether I'll be able to carry it the long ..."

I'm the opposite. I have an idea and I can't wait to get started (I do, because I never work on two things at once). I just launch straight in. It is always about a quarter of the way through, when that initial excitement has worn off, that all the same doubts you experience come crashing in. About the half-way mark they fade and I settle in to a steady rhythm.

Pat Whitaker http://whitakerbooks.wordpress.com



message 26: by Kathy-Diane (new)

Kathy-Diane Pat wrote: "Kathy-diane wrote: "This might sound weird, but its always the novel I'm currently starting. I have an idea that catches fire, but forever experience the niggling worry over whether I'll be able t..."

Pat, I like that 'steady rhythm.' That's the good thing that comes from going back to the drawing board again and again, you start to realize your own rhythm in writing a novel... a lot like running a marathan...where the energy lags, then picks up again. There is no high like crossing the finish line!

Kathy-Diane http://kathy-dianeleveille.com


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