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Putting the words to paper
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Laveric



Joined: 09 Feb 2006
Posts: 883
Location: Rochester Hills, Michigan
Putting the words to paper  Reply with quote  

Ok, I have been toying with writing on and off for a while now. (I think it is true, you read enough and finally it dribbles out into words on paper.) Anyway, I have been giving some thought to the actual methodology to putting the words to paper. As such I have a few questions for those literary types on the board:

1. What do you write on?
2. How valuable are plot outlining / character development software in your writing?
3. Have you tried voice recognition to input the novel into the computer?
4. How often do you go back and rework things?
5. What is the current number of words for a submitted manuscript?

I think that is it for now... Maybe more will come to me later. I am especially interested to see how you all work.

Thanks!

Post Wed Nov 01, 2006 8:57 pm   View user's profile Send private message
FattyFattyPorkFace



Joined: 10 Aug 2004
Posts: 6381
Location: Michigan
Re: Putting the words to paper  Reply with quote  

Laveric wrote:

1. What do you write on?
2. How valuable are plot outlining / character development software in your writing?
3. Have you tried voice recognition to input the novel into the computer?
4. How often do you go back and rework things?
5. What is the current number of words for a submitted manuscript?


I am learning this writing thing myself but these are my answers.

1. I use Word 2007 right now. I did use Word 2003 but the beta of Word 2007 is awesome. I also use GMail and the Google Docs & Spreadsheets stuff.

2. Not very to me. Turns out plotting is counter-productive to my writing and the characters develop themselves. Back-plotting is useful though so something to keep track of that is good. I use OneNote 2007 for notes on plot and characters.

3. No.

4. I personally revisit my previous writing session before writing the next portion, and, if a huge plot detail comes into focus, I may edit earlier parts to make it work. Again, this is just how I have found it works for me and I know this is very unconventional from the people who tell me I am doing it wrong.

5. I have no idea.
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Post Wed Nov 01, 2006 9:11 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
chris
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Joined: 02 Mar 2004
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Post Thu Nov 02, 2006 1:39 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
DanaMichelle



Joined: 09 Jun 2005
Posts: 1368
Location: Michigan
Re: Putting the words to paper  Reply with quote  

Laveric wrote:

1. What do you write on?
2. How valuable are plot outlining / character development software in your writing?
3. Have you tried voice recognition to input the novel into the computer?
4. How often do you go back and rework things?
5. What is the current number of words for a submitted manuscript?


1. I usually write my rough drafts on paper. When I use the computer I delete things that may be useful to me again later on down the process. Plus, my creative flow is better when I write on paper. I also write better in cool notebooks with fuzzy pens.
2. I have never used software for those things, but I have found some good workbooks at Borders that give you interesting things to think about when developing your characters.
3. I talk so much that I think my computer would tell me to SHUT THE FUCK UP AND GET TO THE POINT. I am much more succinct when writing, and can better judge when I need to expand. Verbally, all I do is expand.
4. Rewriting is the most important part of writing, Laveric. I try to plough my way through the whole story first, and it usually sucks. Then I go back and add more detail. The I go back and add more character layers. Then I go back and rework the plot. Then I usually scrap the whole story and start over again (I don't recommend this, it's just my way).
5. I don't think there is a right or wrong answer to this question. One of my coworkers wrote a travel narrative that was amazing. A magazine wanted to publish it, but asked her to cut it from 2,500 words to 1,000 words. Someone else may ask her to expand it into a longer manuscript to fill a space they have. Just write.

Post Thu Nov 02, 2006 6:59 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
Vahlee



Joined: 04 Nov 2005
Posts: 3675
Location: Not-so-back to school
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1. What do you write on? -- My computer. When I was writing, I was doing 2000-2500 words a day and that can cause some horrid hand cramps.

2. How valuable are plot outlining / character development software in your writing? I've Never used software - it's cheating. Not really, I've just never tried it myself. I write down character traits/development.

3. Have you tried voice recognition to input the novel into the computer?
Nope, but I have taught my dog to attack the dishwasher on command.

4. How often do you go back and rework things? I've only written the one book and I wrote the whole thing, and then went back 3 times to edit things.

5. What is the current number of words for a submitted manuscript? Depends on what you're writing here. Average words in a novel is 75,000-120,000 ish. I think anyway. I'm pulling those number out of my ass and I think that's what I read they were. So don't take this for absolute truth.[/b]
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Post Thu Nov 02, 2006 8:26 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
knikkki



Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 3145
Location: Davis, CA
Re: Putting the words to paper  Reply with quote  

1. What do you write on? --- reciepts, paper towels, anything that takes ink when I have an idea and I'm writing notes. Other than that, Word.

2. How valuable are plot outlining / character development software in your writing?

Don't use them personally, probably could benefit from them on the plot side. I think the characters develop as you write them.

3. Have you tried voice recognition to input the novel into the computer?
No, I need the act of typing in order to write. It's almost like an automatic writing thing.

4. How often do you go back and rework things?
I do it constantly. I'm still not happy with my first 20 pages (though at this point, I'm stuck with them)

5. What is the current number of words for a submitted manuscript? My goal is always 100K, which is around 300 pages or so. I think anywhere from 70 on is fine.
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Post Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:16 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Ferrit Leggings



Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 2658
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1. What do you write on?
I write on MS Word, I used to write with Corel Word Perfect. I also use pads, note paper, cig boxes, body parts (mine and others) hehe, and just about anything when I get an idea.

2. How valuable are plot outlining / character development software in your writing?
I have thought about it but every time I plot something out I get bored while writing it. That does not mean I donít plot things out but I do it in my head. If I write it all down then the story is told.

3. Have you tried voice recognition to input the novel into the computer?
No, I swear a lot so I donít think that would be a good idea. Also, I ramble, so the story would end up being some sort of a nightmarish version of a Tom Robbins novel.

4. How often do you go back and rework things?
All the time, but I do that as I go. I hate editing so when I finish a paragraph or section, I go back and check through it. The reason is because I tend to make stupid mistakes while writing, missing words and so on, so I find it better to edit something while the idea is fresh in my mind.

5. What is the current number of words for a submitted manuscript?
More than I have written. Actually I write a lot but hate most of what I write and change it then write more and then change it again. I probably have written more than Isaac Asimov, most of it ends up in the trash though.
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Post Thu Nov 02, 2006 1:05 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
LostInWalmart



Joined: 26 Jun 2006
Posts: 1900
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1. What do you write on? Word on the PC and Mac, my awesome kickass Moleskine notebooks, and sometimes the bathroom walls.

2. How valuable are plot outlining / character development software in your writing? I always think software is going to make me a better or more organized writer, but then again I always think a new one-piece graphite stick is going to make me a better hockey player. Both apparently untrue.

3. Have you tried voice recognition to input the novel into the computer? I think the worst part about that would be that I "sometimes" write at work, and it would be very very difficult to explain.

4. How often do you go back and rework things? I am a firm believer in what Anne Lamott calls the Shitty First Draft. I even name some files SFD to remind myself that it supposed to be shitty. And it is. I sometimes rework text when I get stuck on something else and need a distraction. I also like to leave things for an inordinately long period of time before going back to see how things sound.

5. What is the current number of words for a submitted manuscript? I've also heard 75-100K, but it really depends on when the story is done. Wow that was trite. Word count is a harsh mistress, and not in the good way you're thinking.

B

Post Thu Nov 02, 2006 1:23 pm   View user's profile Send private message
Lord_Chimmy



Joined: 05 Jun 2006
Posts: 16
Re: Putting the words to paper  Reply with quote  

Laveric wrote:


1. What do you write on?
2. How valuable are plot outlining / character development software in your writing?
3. Have you tried voice recognition to input the novel into the computer?
4. How often do you go back and rework things?
5. What is the current number of words for a submitted manuscript?


1. I write on notepads of all sorts to develop my ideas. But, when I'm really ready to write I use the computer.
2. This depends on how you work. I'm a researcher by trade so I like to have a plan. Having an outline doesn't mean you have to stick to it, but it gives you something to come back to when you're stuck...and everyone gets stuck. Every writer is different. I don't think there's a mass formula to writing. Writers are weird and varied creatures.
3. Never. Wouldn't even want to try it. I'm stuck in my ways...
4. All the time. Eventually you reach a point where you're out of time (if you're one of those people who follows deadlines). I rework things until the very end, but I'm just never fully satisfied with what I write.
5. Tell me when you find out.

Post Thu Nov 02, 2006 8:34 pm   View user's profile Send private message
Lauren



Joined: 07 Mar 2004
Posts: 1582
Location: Massachusetts
Re: Putting the words to paper  Reply with quote  

1. What do you write on? - My laptop, mostly. I don't plug in my ethernet cable, and that way can't be all distracted surfing the internet. If I'm writing longhand, I try to get my hands on a pen I really like. (Pilot VBall liquid ink rollerball. Black ink.)

2. How valuable are plot outlining / character development software in your writing? - I don't use software. I'd spend way too much time going "Hey, what's this button do?" and not get a ton of work done. I do a little bit of pen-and-paper outlining, here and there, but it's not really organized in any way.

3. Have you tried voice recognition to input the novel into the computer? - Nope.

4. How often do you go back and rework things? - Probably more than I should. Notice that in 1&2, I have a habit of letting things take my focus off of the writing? Editing and tweaking feels productive, but if I'm being honest, there are times I should leave a scene the hell alone and come back to it when everything's done to polish it. That said, if something's just plain not working, it's going to be in the back of my head for the rest of the project. It's a matter of figuring out where reworking stops being productive and starts being procrastination.

5. What is the current number of words for a submitted manuscript? - for a first-time novel, if you're submitting to an agent or publisher, 100,000 words is about the average. Sure, if you're George RR Martin, you can get away with a 400,000 word manuscript. But that's GRRM.

If you're writing a young adult novel, I believe 75,000-80,000 words is the norm. Could be wrong on that.

National Novel Writing Month's goal is a 50,000 word novel in 30 days (IT'S DAY THREE, KIDS. GOOD MORNING!). However, it says somewhere in their FAQ that 50K is really more novella-length.

And, speaking of Nano, I should be plotting, not posting.
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Post Fri Nov 03, 2006 7:46 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address ICQ Number
Taco Bob



Joined: 12 Apr 2004
Posts: 1201
Location: Palm Falls, Florida
Re: Putting the words to paper  Reply with quote  

Laveric wrote:

1. What do you write on?
2. How valuable are plot outlining / character development software in your writing?
3. Have you tried voice recognition to input the novel into the computer?
4. How often do you go back and rework things?
5. What is the current number of words for a submitted manuscript?



1. The early version of ms word. (MS Word '86?)
2. They got software for that?
3. I'm still working on voice recognition with the bird.
4. I only stop when it goes to the printer.
5. Never enough...
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Post Sat Nov 04, 2006 8:23 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Poofiemus



Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 91
Location: Education Camp--I mean, college.
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Lauren, you're a NaNoer too? Yay!

Okay, moving on.

1. What do you write on?

For actual writing, always the computer. I use Microsoft Word because it's there and I know how it works (for the most part). But if I've been attacked by a plotbunny at random, generally I'll jot it down in some random little journal that's floating around. Problem with that system is that I have a good half dozen notebooks and so I've got bits of plot in each of them.

2. How valuable are plot outlining/character development software in your writing?

There's actual software for that? Wow, I don't even use anything beyond fragmentary plot notes that often pose as novel for a bit for either of those purposes. (Hope that made sense. Probably didn't).

3. Have you ever tried voice recognition to input the novel into the computer?

Nope. And I never will. The way I talk is rather different from the way I write and I'd like to keep it that way. Besides, I still have that verbal tick of saying "like" every few words that I picked up in middle school in California, and I don't want a novel full of THAT.

4. How often do you go back and rework things?

I used to go back every chapter, but then realized that it screwed my continuity over completely. Now I'm trying to get a finished draft for the first time, and then I'll edit the sucker.

5. What is the current number of words for a submitted manuscript?

I agree that the average looks to be about 100K, though it does tend to fluctuate by genre and intended audience. Still, I think NaNoWriMo's 50K is a good start. It is generally enough to get you off your butt and get something decent written, and sometimes it balloons on itself (like mine did. 58K and still nowhere near done. I hope to finish sometime in January).

Hope this helps someone.
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Post Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:04 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
sgt_steve



Joined: 18 Jan 2005
Posts: 5197
Location: Michissippi
Re: Putting the words to paper  Reply with quote  

1. What do you write on?

Laptop exclusively.

2. How valuable are plot outlining / character development software in your writing?

I bare use any of them, but this may be because I'm good with keeping lots of little detail on my head. The most common thing I'll do outside of the text itself is a set of notes about characters/history/milieu that are important to the backstory. These have a habit of turning into little scenes that wind up in the main story.

3. Have you tried voice recognition to input the novel into the computer?

Nope.

4. How often do you go back and rework things?

Not often at the start, usually not in any significant way until the basic text is complete and archived. Then I'm likely to rip into it with a chainsaw.

5. What is the current number of words for a submitted manuscript?

Whatever the story or essay takes.

Post Sat Dec 16, 2006 10:58 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
LostInWalmart



Joined: 26 Jun 2006
Posts: 1900
Re: Putting the words to paper  Reply with quote  

sgt_steve wrote:
15. What is the current number of words for a submitted manuscript?

Whatever the story or essay takes.


I always lose sight of this. The story should determine its own length.

Post Mon Dec 18, 2006 8:07 am   View user's profile Send private message
accuracy above all



Joined: 06 Dec 2006
Posts: 72
Location: right here
Re: Putting the words to paper  Reply with quote  

Laveric wrote:

1. What do you write on?


Mostly an NEC MobilePro, which is a windows CE machine that' just big enough to touch type on and no more. Occasionally a laptop. Mobility is n issue for me. I once wrote a longish short story by hand and loved the rhythm of it. I can't switch to that method in the middle of a novel or I'd be doing it now.

Quote:
2. How valuable are plot outlining / character development software in your writing?


My first novel, I wrote it in one file, and kept very brief chapter summaries in another, usually staying ahead a few chapters ahead in the summary file, especially when I got a rhythm going, like when I saw the finish line coming up towards the end. This time out, I'm using Action Outline (recommended by the AG) but just because it's a multi-strand, multi-part novel that got so complicated, I couldn't keep the structure straight otherwise -- I'm hoping not to ever have to do that again.

Quote:
3. Have you tried voice recognition to input the novel into the computer?


Never. I picture Woody Allen dictating into a handheld tape recorder. Occasionally, I go for long walks with a small digital recorder in my pocket, and dictate the solutions to problems, etc. when they occur to me. Occasionally, I record an inspiration into my cell phone which has a record applet.

Quote:
4. How often do you go back and rework things?


No formula for thqat, but "writing is rewriting" as they say.

Quote:
5. What is the current number of words for a submitted manuscript?


I'll stay out of that one, seeing as someone else here answered it better than I could. But I think it's easier to cut than to add if a publisher has issues with your word count. I'd rather be in the former position if it ever came up.

Quote:
I think that is it for now... Maybe more will come to me later. I am especially interested to see how you all work.


There are a zillion different ways to work. Which one is right for you?
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