1,507 reputation
417
bio website
location Sussex, WI
age 30
visits member for 3 years, 11 months
seen Aug 12 '11 at 15:13

I am a husband and a father of one (with another on the way). I'm a writer, and I also love Go (the game). Currently, my full-time job is in a factory in Wisconsin, but that's definitely not the longterm plan.


Jan
20
comment What are good writing newsletters to sign up for?
Are you just looking for newsletters, or would blog RSS feeds count, too?
Dec
30
comment How can a specific (current) event be made timeless?
@justkt - I am a little confused by good / bad subjective questions, even after reading the guidelines for them, so I feel bad posting them most of the time (and I oftentimes don't post because I'm afraid they're too subjective). Hence the parenthetical. But thanks for letting me know - that helps clarify a few things in regard to subjective questions on SE.
Dec
30
comment How can a specific (current) event be made timeless?
Thank you so much for this reply! As someone with his B.A. in Philosophy, my immediate thoughts to these questions are along the lines of erikric regarding universal truths - which is a good answer - but I was especially looking for storytelling ways of delving into these truths and giving them to the reader. I think you have a lot of good advice and insight in this post as to how that can be accomplished.
Dec
20
comment How much swearing is TOO much? (And how much is not enough?)
@Mr. Shiny and New: I've read those books quite a few times now, so I don't remember my first reaction, but considering that she was yelling at the woman who had killed one of her sons, I thought it was appropriate.
Dec
20
comment How much swearing is TOO much? (And how much is not enough?)
+1 These are both very good points. I have read some fantasy novels that include certain swear words, but they're used in such a way as to be appropriate. As two of my favorite series, though, I love how Rowling and Jordan both handle swearing in a fantasy setting. I also appreciate that as the HP books near their end, there is a tad more "bad words" when appropriate. It's never extreme, but it fits the story and the characters in them.
Dec
11
comment How does one deal with world builder's syndrome?
I might agree with you if I wasn't getting any writing done, except that I usually have two novels going at the same time. I do write. On one I write the actual story, while on the other I do prep work for the next story. I have two different blocks of time set up to do both. When I finish the story I'm writing, I hope to be ready to start the next one. That's usually the case. I think my problem is in the prep work, though, not that I'm putting the story off...
Dec
10
comment How long can a writer expect to write before publishing his/her first novel?
I accepted this as the answer to my question, because the post you linked to was EXACTLY the kind of thing I was looking for. Thank you!
Dec
10
comment How long can a writer expect to write before publishing his/her first novel?
I was thinking fiction, I suppose, but I found way0utwest's answer incredibly interesting. Now I'm curious about the difference between fiction and non-fiction. I'd never considered that before.
Dec
10
comment I have written my first novel and I think it's ready. What next?
@jae - I didn't know that. I know Stephen King wrote two novels (can't remember which ones) before finally selling Carrie; they both sold, too, eventually. But they weren't the first. That's always been encouraging to me. I may not ever sell my first novels, but at least right now I can feel as though I'm not just churning my wheels for nothing - that maybe someday people will read these stories. They just won't be the first ones...
Dec
9
comment Do Novels follow a 3 Act/2 Plot Point structure like most Movie Scripts?
I apologize. When you said "The points sound all straight forward? They are! But you need some structure to keep them in mind." it confused me. I thought you were saying those aren't the structure or something. Sorry about that!
Dec
9
comment Do Novels follow a 3 Act/2 Plot Point structure like most Movie Scripts?
Your three important points are, in a nutshell, the 3 Act structure. :-) That's why basically every single novel has one. Your first few chapters are intended to grab readers, introduce main characters, and finally hit the first doorway - that's the introduction. The middle is the rising action. The end is that action coming to a resolution. There you have it. A basic structure for you novel, even if you do no other structuring at all.
Dec
9
comment How do you vary dialogue within stories?
I realize we're talking about dialogue, but the 'said-bookism' link made me think of "in-direct dialogue." For example, rather than doing the following: "Blah, blah, blah," Alice concurred. Just say, "Alice concurred." If the dialogue isn't absolutely necessary and you can sum it up quickly, that will keep things varied while also avoiding "said-bookism" type writing. Otherwise, I'm a big fan of just sticking with 'said'.
Dec
8
comment What is a normal length for a chapter?
The author who really taught me that was actually Michael Crichton. His chapter lengths can very a huge amount - from thousands of words to half a page. They also tend to "tighten up" toward the end of his stories a lot of times, when the action is ramping up for a big finale. You can almost feel the rhythm in your fingers as you flip from page to page, chapter to chapter. I know not everyone is a Crichton fan, but I think he handles those chapter beats very well.
Dec
8
comment I have written my first novel and I think it's ready. What next?
Regarding your comment on publishing: I would point out that if you opt for a self-publishing e-book route, most publishing companies will almost never give you a deal for that book. If it's already published and out in the wild, then it just isn't going to happen. If an e-book generates a lot of interest and builds a reader base, then that might help sell other novels - but I think that's probably the best you can expect.
Dec
6
comment What is the difference between writing in the first and the third person?
This is a very interesting comment on first person. I've only read a few first-person novels, and they were more of a "diary" type that actually did leave me emotionally invested in the narrator. But my experience is otherwise limited, except to my own failed attempts at writing from first (which ended much like yours). Thank you!
Dec
5
comment How does one implement effective foreshadowing?
You made me think of another question: What's the difference between foreshadowing and what characters think will happen? How can both of those be used effectively together? If a character thinks X will happen, but Y actually happens in the end, then how do we foreshadow Y in the midst of the character preparing for X, and so on?
Dec
5
comment How do you map out your storyline?
Definitely this. If you number your index cards, you can then shuffle them and read through, too, just to see if there are any connections between scenes you might have missed. They're also a good starting point if you want to later flesh out a larger outline or input them into a program like Scrivener.
Dec
5
comment Avoiding Deus Ex Machina resolutions?
Agreed. I don't think there's anything wrong with a Deus Ex Machina in the first draft if you get stuck and its a really inventive way to get the characters out of a bind. So long as the writer goes back and fixes it later on, so that it's not longer a DXM by the final revision. The reader should always be left with the feeling that this was being led up to from the very start.
Dec
5
comment How can I write an attention-grabbing first line?
+1: Writing the story first is exactly what the authors at Writing Excuses recommend. I think most first chapters were written to be thrown out. We only know how to effectively begin once we know where the story ends. And I imagine that's true for the first line, too.
Dec
5
comment Character Development - How much is too much?
I would like to emphasize your point that character development is central to the story. I think that part of what Randomman159 has probably experienced is not only "bad character development" but also authors who have chosen to include weak scenes into their stories. Every scene should be important to character development, even if in small ways. This is hard to gauge as a writer, because we can become attached to certain scenes that we like, even if they're not very important. This is probably part of a lesson in that old saying: Kill your darlings!