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Rated: 13+ · Message Forum · Writing.Com · #100931
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May 22, 2020 at 9:19am
Re: For Published Fiction Authors
by Veritas
What I'm taking away from your post is that you are having trouble even getting started to get your ideas down. So let's address that first. This is a very long post because I ramble so for the TL:DR version, I'm going to bold the most important parts.

First of all, forget about the editor. Why think about an editor if you don't even have the first draft down? It's like buying gas when you don't have a car.

Second, forget the websites. Yes, they can help give ideas and advice about the process of writing but they aren't going to write the story for you. And often times I think those websites are really too formulaic and at the same time too personal. Everyone writes differently and it takes a lot of practice and experience to find what works for you. And what works for you might change over time and with experience. And based on what you are trying to write.

If you want to be a writer and a published author, the first thing you need to do is write. Write often. Write for extended periods. Write more than 400 words in one sitting. Writing a good short story for most authors, isn't a 30 minute one-off that is done while snacking on lunch. It can take days or weeks of work. Novels take months or years. You need to sit down in front of your pen and paper or your computer and get used to the idea of spending hours there. For example, I've been working on my current story since 9am, I stopped for a half-hour lunch break at 12:30 and stopped for the day at 2pm. One story - 4 hours (and it's not finished). Writing is a pleasure, yes. But it's also work.

If you're hoping to write short stories, novellas, novels, fiction, you need to learn to write fiction. Take a look at the books you like. What makes them a good story? Try to imitate them. Maybe rewrite a scene from one of your favorite movies or books. At least that will give you an idea of what is needed to create a full-fledged story and not just a 500-word scene. This is where a lot of budding or aspiring writers fall. I was no exception. I had a lot of ideas, wrote some pretty paragraphs, but I didn't know how to write a full story. And I see this a lot in others.

My advice would be to step away from your personal experiences and the ideas that have been milling around in your head for a while and learn to write fiction that has nothing to do with that. You can incorporate some of that all-too-familiar-phrase "what you know" into your stories but start out with a prompt or a situation that has nothing to do with your life. Take look at "The Writer's Cramp [13+] for inspiration. You don't need to enter the competition or write the story in a day or even keep it under 1000 words but it'll give you some place to start that is outside your head.

Or try here "A Writing Exercise [18+] with A E Willcox new forum. Or the Writing.com Monthly contest. This month's is "Short Shots: Official WDC Contest [E] with kind of a wild photograph. I've often gone to these contests for inspiration when I don't know where to begin.

Start small. Write a short story. Concentrate on short stories. Read short stories in the New Yorker or from an anthology so you get the idea of how they work. Don't jump into huge projects right away unless you feel really ready to spend five hours a day everyday at the keyboard knowing that you're going to have to go back and rewrite almost all of it at a later date. And don't edit while you write. Finish the story first and then edit.

Then you can figure out the process that works for you and start looking at the websites that talk about symbolism, plot, and character development and know what you need to take from there and what you can leave. But you need to have a grasp on the process first and the only way you can do that is to actually sit down, write and yeah, go through the painful process of it hurting to do so. Because it does. Like I said, writing is fun, but it's also work. And it's hard.

I wish I could be more specific but I truly feel that every writer needs to find their own process and if the websites are overwhelming to you then it's better that you ignore them and just write. That's really the only way you'll learn to be a writer. Write. Fill that portfolio, girl!

Write write write.

And don't worry about anything else for a while.

Did I mention to write?
For Published Fiction Authors · 05-22-20 8:08am
by lauradena
Re: For Published Fiction Authors · 05-22-20 8:41am
by Tobber
Re: Re: For Published Fiction Authors · 05-22-20 8:57am
by Steven
Re: Re: Re: For Published Fiction Authors · 05-22-20 9:24am
by Veritas
*Star* Re: For Published Fiction Authors · 05-22-20 9:19am
by Veritas
Re: Re: For Published Fiction Authors · 05-22-20 12:43pm
by lauradena
Re: Re: Re: For Published Fiction Authors · 05-23-20 2:51am
by Zen
Re: For Published Fiction Authors · 05-22-20 9:58am
by Vagus
Re: For Published Fiction Authors · 05-24-20 3:13pm
by bob county
Re: Re: For Published Fiction Authors · 05-25-20 5:53pm
by lauradena

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