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marthawells

Martha Wells

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marthawells

Taking Writing Questions

In honor of Nanowrimomo starting next month, I thought I'd do writing questions again. If anyone has a question about anything writing-related and/or publishing-related in general, or in particular, comment with it here and I'll answer it in a later post, if I know what the answer is.

I'm still in the mid-book slog, where getting 300 to 500 words a day is good for me, even though it's much less than my usual amount. I've never done Wrinanomomo, because it just doesn't work that way for me, though I know it's great for a lot of people.

I also don't read writing advice books, though I know a lot of people find those incredibly helpful. One thing I think people should realize early on is that everyone's process for writing is different, and if your process enables you to finish a story or book, then it's a successful process, and it doesn't matter if it doesn't conform to anyone else's experience.

I'm not a big fan of conformity in general, and as I get older, I like it less and less.

Food, food, food:

I made beef stew last night, in honor of our slightly lower tempertures, and it was very successful. I got the meat on Saturday from the ranch that comes to the local Farmer's Market, and used this recipe. Though if we have red wine available I like to add that, too.

A new thing I tried recently was chicken with Thai green curry. The second try, with coconut milk, worked out much better and was yummy.


***

Joe McKinney: 10 Rules For Writing About Cops Joe is a writer, and a homicide detective in San Antonio.

Neat art: When Steampunk Meets Surrealism

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Explaining what needs explaining - and vice versa.

I'll take the opportunity to ask a writing-related question :)

A few days ago, on showing a friend the very first short story I've finished in years, he remarked that "it feels as if some of the things that you need explain are not, and some of the things you need not explain are ... "

For the most part - exceptions exist - I, like most I'm guessing, would like to avoid the "infodump" chapters/paragraphs.

How do you decide which "things" in a story needs explicit explanation, and which can/ought be glossed over? Any rules of thumb?

-- Tina

....you just reminded me that I have to put my dinner in the crockpot - thanks :)

I also don't read writing advice books, though I know a lot of people find those incredibly helpful. One thing I think people should realize early on is that everyone's process for writing is different, and if your process enables you to finish a story or book, then it's a successful process, and it doesn't matter if it doesn't conform to anyone else's experience.

That's so very true! Sometimes reading advice books can be helpful in a different way from straight-up advice, though. For me, it helps to formulate my opinion in opposition to something else - it clarifies things in my own mind, if that makes sense.

Yes, that does make sense. That a neat way to use them.

(Deleted comment)
That's awesome, he sounds like an excellent teacher. I think that encouraging creative thinking like that really helps with problem-solving skills, too.

Hi Martha. Not sure if you're still taking writing questions, but if you are here's one: Are there any general rules for dividing a novel into parts? In doing internet searches, it's one writing topic I haven't seen many people give advice on. I wonder when it is necessary to use parts and if they may be used along with chapters. It seems they're generally used to say, "Okay, we're moving on to a different phase in so-in-so's adventure now," but perhaps there are other uses I haven't thought of.

Anyhow, I just find it odd that there's so few articles out there discussing this matter. Or maybe I just don't know the best key words to use when researching about it, heh.

Hey, Tiyana,

I think whether you use them or not, or how you use them, is one of those things that's up to the author. You can definitely use them along with chapters. The most common way I've seen it is to divide a novel up into different "books" delineating different phases in the story, with each individual book divided into chapters.

I see. Thanks for the advice!

-Tiyana

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