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Domenic Pappalardo
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Domenic Pappalardo

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Help the new writer with truth. Empty
PostSubject: Help the new writer with truth.   Help the new writer with truth. EmptyFri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Most new writers just start building a book, without first spending time learning how to write. Most times the results are akin to a person learning how to fly an airplane solo, without having a lesson. There are those who suggest new writers just start writing, but I for one do not advise it. The new writer will spend months writing a book they later will find requires a major rewrite…if and when they learn how to write. Much time is wasted, and most will just lose heart.

Don’t you think it would be kinder to the new writer to warn them…they need to first learn how to write, rather then try to make them feel good with, “Oh, I like it,”
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: Help the new writer with truth.   Help the new writer with truth. EmptyFri Oct 18, 2013 11:35 am

Dom,
I don't think anyone can pre-determine if they have the ability to write unless they try.
Putting thoughts on paper is the beginning.  Getting feed-back on what is written may determine if the writer is serious about writing.  If the story line is good, I believe encouragement is helpful. 
Anyone can put words on paper.  Some can write perfectly well and what they write is dull/boring.  Others can grab interest and then notice the writing flaws.  That can be corrected with instruction.  Learning is easier when there is a genuine reason to learn.  Try learning a foreign language just because someone said it was a good thing.  It is very difficult.  Learning a foreign language because you have a need, gives the necessary motivation.
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Shelagh
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Shelagh

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PostSubject: Re: Help the new writer with truth.   Help the new writer with truth. EmptyFri Oct 18, 2013 11:43 am

That's a very good point, Abe. We don't need to be motivated to do the things we want to do. All the motivation in the world is no good if it isn't what a person wants to do.

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I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]Shelagh Watkins
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Don Stephens
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PostSubject: Re: Help the new writer with truth.   Help the new writer with truth. EmptyFri Oct 18, 2013 12:13 pm

When I came up with the idea for Bearkiller, I went to a friend of mine who was a published author.  I told him of my idea and said he could have it and I would work with him on it.  I had no desire to write at the time.  His response was, "Write it yourself, everyone had at least one good book in them."

I wrote out the first three chapters in long hand and discovered I loved it.  Ten books later, I still love it and a couple people think they're worth reading.  Every time I sit down at the keyboard I learn something new.

Prior to writing that first book, if anyone would have told me I could be a writer, I would have thought they were nuts.
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Domenic Pappalardo
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PostSubject: Re: Help the new writer with truth.   Help the new writer with truth. EmptyFri Oct 18, 2013 12:29 pm

We have two different points of view on the subject. I believe what Shelagh, and Abe said has merit. I myself do not follow that theory. It takes many, many hours to write a book. Then the big works comes…cleaning it up, One or two major rewrites…

If it is not well written a publisher will not publish it. I believe most people who want to write a book, have the dream of becoming a well known writer…it is a big goal to shoot for. Most who start off have no idea how hard the road can be.

To spend years writing, and learning the mistakes, and how to correct them along the way…is a much longer path then learning before one starts.

I speak from personal experience…I wasted many years learning as I wrote. I would not wish that on any new writer.

It is my opinion, if a new writers work falls flat on its face, may will give up.
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alj
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PostSubject: Re: Help the new writer with truth.   Help the new writer with truth. EmptyFri Oct 18, 2013 12:58 pm

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I learned about Mark David Gerson from a former member of this forum who has gone on to writing successful stories, often writing historical fantasy novels about his Montana homeland.  He has writtenseveral successful series of novels.
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Before he stopped posting here, he recommended Mark David's The Voice of the Muse
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Mark David's basic advice is to let the story write itself. - that it is inherent in your mind and heart, and will come out of its own accord if you let go and let it happen.

Revising, editing, and proofing the story are a separate aspect form the creation of it, and need to be set aside while the story develops, to be employed later.

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of the highly sucessful NYT bestseller, Women who Run with Wolves, agrees with Mark David's approach, saying that the best thing a writer can do is to "step out of the way,"  (The Creative Fire)
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Domenic Pappalardo
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Domenic Pappalardo

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PostSubject: Re: Help the new writer with truth.   Help the new writer with truth. EmptyFri Oct 18, 2013 2:38 pm

Anybody can write a book, and publish it. There are two types of publishing. Write the book, and put it on the web. The second method is, find, and get excepted by a Literary Agent, and hope she sells it to a pulp Publisher.
The first method is very simple...there are no standards to live up to. Anybody can write a very bad book, and have it for sale on the web.
With a pulp Publisher...you must be a good writer. You must also follow all the guidelines a Publisher wants.
True, some people have used the first method, and  later sold to a pulp Publisher...but that number has been very few.
It is also a truth that the market is turning to the web. Pulp Publishers are also using the web. A badly written book will soon be known as bad, and future sales of future books may not come.
many who have submitted to pulp Publishers have had rejects...given up, and rather than rewrite, have put the book on the web.
You will hear stories, "This one did it, or that one did it." There are a million others stories that did not make it, even on the web.
Most of those who claim other wish, have never been excepted by a standard publisher.
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: Help the new writer with truth.   Help the new writer with truth. EmptyFri Oct 18, 2013 4:50 pm

Newbie writers who wish to become a successful authors of romantic fiction have to learn the ropes. The story lines are formulaic: boy meets girl, girl hates boy, boy wins round girl, boy and girl live happily ever after. The girl has to meet the boy in the first chapter; the second chapter is too late and readers will have stopped reading by the end of chapter one. Knowing the rules about how to construct a good romance novel takes years of learning. Romance writers have probably been reading romantic fiction since they were thirteen years old.

Mystery and thrillers are also formulaic -- although I don't know the rules for plotting a mystery novel, I recognise the similarities in all mysteries whether it's Ruth Rendell or Agatha Christie.

Other genres have recognisable formulas. If you don't learn how to write these novels, you won't become a successful author.

Literary fiction and general fiction is not formulaic. Authors can write in their own style and plot their novels in new and fresh ways. Many new authors choose to write literary/general fiction because, at the back of their minds, they know that they are not good enough to write genre fiction -- and they won't be good enough until they've learned how to write formulaic stories. Not everyone has the discipline to spend years learning how to write quality genre fiction.

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I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]Shelagh Watkins
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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: Help the new writer with truth.   Help the new writer with truth. EmptyFri Oct 18, 2013 5:10 pm

I know of writers that simply scribbled their notes, turned them over to a typist who turned them over to an editor and bingo - famous.

The paths are many.  There are many talented English professors with a manuscript in their drawer who can teach writers who become famous but cannot finish their own books.

Many editors help writers improve their books, some even called book doctors, yet cannot put their own stories into print.

Knowledge alone is not sufficient.  There's a certain magic, a certain chemistry, a certain something that makes the difference, even if it's luck.  However they say luck comes to the person who works toward it.
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alj
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alj

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PostSubject: Re: Help the new writer with truth.   Help the new writer with truth. EmptyFri Oct 18, 2013 5:25 pm

And there is such a thing as quality genre fiction, and it serves many readers. The formulas are based on patterns that have been successful. With some authors, though, the patterns become more important than the story. The first two or three Robert Ludlum's books one reads are intriguing and exciting - it doesn't matter which of his books are the first read. After a time, they all sound alike, and the excitement dies as the routine becomes obvious. The spark is gone.

I have heard that James Patterson has been at it so long, he no longer does the writing himself, but has a staff of writers who develop his outlines. That might be a good way for new writers to learn the ropes, if one wants to go the traditional route.

In the meantime, their are some quality stories available through online sources that have been self-published or were published through small, independent publishers, just as many excellent films are produced by groups who work outside the major production studios.
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Domenic Pappalardo
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Domenic Pappalardo

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PostSubject: Re: Help the new writer with truth.   Help the new writer with truth. EmptyFri Oct 18, 2013 6:50 pm

Shelagh wrote:
Newbie writers who wish to become a successful authors of romantic fiction have to learn the ropes. The story lines are formulaic: boy meets girl, girl hates boy, boy wins round girl, boy and girl live happily ever after. The girl has to meet the boy in the first chapter; the second chapter is too late and readers will have stopped reading by the end of chapter one. Knowing the rules about how to construct a good romance novel takes years of learning. Romance writers have probably been reading romantic fiction since they were thirteen years old.

Mystery and thrillers are also formulaic -- although I don't know the rules for plotting a mystery novel, I recognise the similarities in all mysteries whether it's Ruth Rendell or Agatha Christie.

Other genres have recognisable formulas. If you don't learn how to write these novels, you won't become a successful author.

Literary fiction and general fiction is not formulaic. Authors can write in their own style and plot their novels in new and fresh ways. Many new authors choose to write literary/general fiction because, at the back of their minds, they know that they are not good enough to write genre fiction -- and they won't be good enough until they've learned how to write formulaic stories. Not everyone has the discipline to spend years learning how to write quality genre fiction.
boy meets girl, girl hates boy, boy wins round girl, boy and girl live happily ever after. The girl has to meet the boy in the first chapter;

LOL...for some reason this part struck me funny.
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Domenic Pappalardo
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Domenic Pappalardo

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PostSubject: Re: Help the new writer with truth.   Help the new writer with truth. EmptyFri Oct 18, 2013 7:24 pm

Here are a few types of stories. There are no hard, and fast rules to a story. Any of these can have a new twist.
Fable, Parable, Myth, Legend, Epic, Drama, Tragedy, Comedy, Farce, Parody, Satire. Etc…



It sound like some of you are suggesting a new writer just start writing, and let the characters they have made up write the story? These characters are not real. They don’t have a brain. They in fact are the writer. If they were real, they would know as little as the new writer…this is a clear case of, “The blind writer, leading their blind self.”

Why would anybody suggest a new writer avoid getting an education in the craft of writing? Like all other things that are done well…an education is essential.

Some people may have talent, but the talent without a solid education is never recommended. Far to many have gone by the way, for following the advice…”Just wing it.”
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: Help the new writer with truth.   Help the new writer with truth. EmptySat Oct 19, 2013 3:20 am

Paul McCartney never had a guitar lesson and can't notate music. He must have just winged it:

Question: It certainly doesn't sound like strum, strum, strum.
Paul McCartney: No, it's more like fingerpicking. I kind of liked it. I was trying to emulate those folk players. John was the only one who actually stuck at it and learned it. If you listen to "Julia," he's playing properly with fingerpicking on that. I was always quite proud of the lad. I think he just had a friend who showed him, and that's a really nice part on "Julia." But I could never be bothered, really, learning things. You know, I'm a great learner. I always sort of figure something out. Like, I've never had guitar lessons, bass lessons, piano lessons, music-writing lessons, songwriting lessons, or horse-riding lessons, for that matter, or painting -- I do some of that. I always jump into things, and so by the time I'm ready for my first lesson, I'm beyond it. I always did try to have music lessons. I always tried to have someone teach me to notate music, because I still don't know to this day.
Question: You're doing okay.
Paul McCartney: But I figure I'm doing okay, yeah [laughs]. I tried when I was a kid, and I just couldn't get it -- it just didn't seem like nice fun to me. It seemed like hard work. I tried piano lessons when I was 16, but then I'd already written "When I'm 64" -- the melody of it, anyway. And so the guy taking me back to five-finger exercises was really just hell, it was torturing me. I'd been plunking around on little chords, and I had a little bass line. So I never got on with that. And it was the same with everything -- like I say, fingerpicking or anything else. I've always just sort of busked it and learned, and I enjoyed the accident.
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I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]Shelagh Watkins
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: Help the new writer with truth.   Help the new writer with truth. EmptySat Oct 19, 2013 7:53 am

There is such a thing as natural talent and that applies to numerous occupations.  There are some who are mechanically inclined and are genus at their work.  They often become inventors.  That did not come from any formal education.  The motivation came from within.
I have a son-in-law who is a musical genius, in my opinion.  He can't read music.  He listens to music and can immediately play it.  He plays the piano and the guitar, as well as the Bass.  His kind of talent cannot be learned from books.  There are people with a picture mind. They can read something and repeat it from their picture memory.  Does one learn that from study? 
I believe there are natural writers.  They can write what they think either from their imagination or experience and make it sound true to life.  Others struggle with putting their thoughts on paper.  If it is hard work, that in my view means it is not a natural thing.  It is natural when it flows. 
Some writers understand what it means to get into a grouve.  Their fingers cannot type fast enough to keep up with the thoughts.  Getting it down on paper is more important than trying to get it written with perfect grammar.  Editing is necessary with most everything we write.  It is not just grammar, but also making sure what we say is understood correctly.  Just as I am typing this, I realize how often I make a post and fail to make clear the meaning I want to convey.
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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: Help the new writer with truth.   Help the new writer with truth. EmptySat Oct 19, 2013 7:58 am

When I was a freshman in college, a group of literature students proposed that they could put the words used in famous poems in a collection, input the framework and recreate new poems by the same author.  They came up with poetry, without heart.  Words were not sufficient.
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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: Help the new writer with truth.   Help the new writer with truth. EmptySat Oct 19, 2013 8:08 am

I write 500 word articles for two local news magazines, Spotlight Magazines,  with a growing circulation, currently at 35,000 or so circulation, reaching nearly 80,000 readers.  Each article is proofed carefully by an editor whose careful eye is necessary.  We have co-authored a few articles where our combined abilities produced a better story than either of us alone.  Critical to all writing is the opening - especially the opening line in short articles.  She is better at openings than I am.  We often collaborate on the first line in an article.  She assigns the topics and has a vision already of how they will appear in print.
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alj
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PostSubject: Re: Help the new writer with truth.   Help the new writer with truth. EmptySat Oct 19, 2013 9:08 am

During the late 90's and early 00's there were two very popular programs for teaching writing in high schools.  One was called the New Jersey Writing Project, the other was the Jane Schaffer Method, developed by a teacher in California.  The NJWP was an open ended workshop approach that had very few rules as far as the students were concerned.  Basically, they were to write - a lot - for fairly long periods of time.  Then they would meet in small groups and read what they wrote to each other.  The teacher facilitated the groups, but the primary "work" was done by the students.  There were specific ways to respond to the writer, and the writer's work was always to be respected, but the main thing was that the writer remained free to write what they chose to write, in the way they chose to write it.

The Jane Schaffer method was 180 degrees opposite.  Each writer began with organizational "maps" often bubble diagrams, that were very specific.  The student was to write brief phrases in each bubble, and create a very structured outline from the graph.  The outline was designed to help the student plan a writing where every body paragraph had preciesly eleven sentences: topic sentence and concluding sentence, with three 3-sentence chunks in the middle.  Topic and concluding sentences were to be opinions.  The first sentence of each chunk, facts or reasons; the remaining two sentences of each chunk were to be higher-thinking observations about the fact and how it related to the paragraph as a whole.

As an AP teacher (preparing students for the English College Board Advanced Placement exams) I attended wokshops to learn both methods, and had to justify, in writing, which method I was using and why.  I would use both methods for one assignment or another, because I quickly realized that some students learned better from the first, and others from the latter.

Some writers need to be encouraged to open up and be free - especially during the creating stages of the writing.  These students were often more comfortable with structure, and had no trouble moving into the organizational stages on their own.  Others - and I found this to be especially true with the students attending our advanced art program, wrote beautifully espressive phrases and sentences that rambled all over the place and never really made a point.  For them, the tight structure of the Schaffer method was an almost necessary step, since those AP exam essays would be graded on their ability to present a thesis and develop it with logic and higher level reasoning.

I have always been amused that the upper east coast developed the open, free, style of teaching, while the Californians were more into structure.

Point is, we help writers to develop their craft when we show them how to do what they most need to learn.  There is no single way that works for everyone.
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