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Old 03-22-2017, 06:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Any writers in the house?

Just curious...any writers on MCB, published or otherwise? Novelists, non-fiction, journalists, poets, etc.?

Would love to hear from you - war stories about the craft, approach, style, organization, anything!

I'm working on a piece at the moment and solidarity/shared experiences are always nice.

Brian
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Old 03-22-2017, 08:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 03-22-2017, 08:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm a musician and an MC. I play guitar, bass, and I rap. Not at the same time, though, lol. So the writing I've done is in song lyrics. I have to feel it, whether it's the beat, the melody, or just the atmosphere around me. I lose a lot if I don't write it down right away. Always have a pen handy
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Old 03-22-2017, 08:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Old 03-22-2017, 09:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Old 03-23-2017, 05:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Old 03-23-2017, 11:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Ah, I forgot lyricists! My apologies

Glad to hear we have so many creative types here. I took a look at rawbutter's novel. It looks amazing! Hopefully, he'll chime in...otherwise I can PM him.

---

Finally began work on my first draft yesterday. After a month of character charts, timelines, plot synopses and analysis, it felt good to get some real substantive words on the page.

This is my first go at creative writing since I graduated from college almost 2 years ago. At the moment, my goal is twofold: 1) create a piece that makes me happy and 2) create something that my friends and family would enjoy.
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Old 03-23-2017, 12:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by packersrule729 View Post
Glad to hear we have so many creative types here. I took a look at rawbutter's novel. It looks amazing! Hopefully, he'll chime in...otherwise I can PM him.
It's nice to be mentioned, but I'm honestly not sure how helpful I can be. I did quit my day job five years ago to pursue a writing career (because I had an idea for an epic fantasy novel series with a finale that's never been done before in literature), and I have written two novels (and some short stories set in the same universe), but I haven't had any "success" in the typical sense. I never found an agent. My stories have never won the contests I've entered them in (never even made it to the honorable mentions). And the stress of it all has contributed to multiple mental breakdowns. Fortunately my doctor put me on Prozac and Ambien, so I'm still sane and functional, but like I said, I'm probably not the best mentor. I'm well past the "hopefully optimistic" stage and deep in the "brooding, jaded wash-out" rut.

But....I did self-publish with Amazon, so if you're just writing for yourself and some friends/family to enjoy, and if you have no sincere interest in "real" publishing, then I suppose I can help with that process. Self-publishing with Amazon is stupid easy, and cheap (if you don't care about owning your ISBN). If you're not going to spend money on cover art, or editing, then you can get paperbacks for less than $100.
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Old 03-23-2017, 01:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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It's nice to be mentioned, but I'm honestly not sure how helpful I can be. I did quit my day job five years ago to pursue a writing career (because I had an idea for an epic fantasy novel series with a finale that's never been done before in literature), and I have written two novels (and some short stories set in the same universe), but I haven't had any "success" in the typical sense. I never found an agent. My stories have never won the contests I've entered them in (never even made it to the honorable mentions). And the stress of it all has contributed to multiple mental breakdowns. Fortunately my doctor put me on Prozac and Ambien, so I'm still sane and functional, but like I said, I'm probably not the best mentor. I'm well past the "hopefully optimistic" stage and deep in the "brooding, jaded wash-out" rut.

But....I did self-publish with Amazon, so if you're just writing for yourself and some friends/family to enjoy, and if you have no sincere interest in "real" publishing, then I suppose I can help with that process. Self-publishing with Amazon is stupid easy, and cheap (if you don't care about owning your ISBN). If you're not going to spend money on cover art, or editing, then you can get paperbacks for less than $100.
Hi rawbutter,

Thanks for chiming in! Sorry to hear about the effect writing has had on your mental state. At the very least, you were able to compose your thoughts onto paper and create something from nothing. Which is more than most people can say.

But I've got to add, isn't the signature trademark of a good author the fact that they are jaded, brooding and washed out? Hell, take a look at Hemingway, David Foster Wallace, Sylvia Plath...all tremendous writers, all with a serious case of the "deep darkies." In fact, I think it may even be a prerequisite. I know I'm coming in from the fresh faced, juvenile, "hopefully (dangerously) optimistic" perspective, but I say harness it. Use it. Help it to convey depth and real emotion in your work. But in all seriousness, please just ignore my youthful naivete.

Honestly, my end goal is to be a published author. I want to write full time. I always have. I've finally awarded myself the opportunity to attempt it. As someone who is deeply afraid of failure, it is without a doubt that I have some unfathomable obstacles and tribulations lying ahead.

That being said, I am very glad that you shared your experience with me, negative or not. I would like to learn as much as I can about the craft from those who have come before and you certainly sound like someone who has been down the beaten path. Any tips, suggestions, or sagely advice on the topics of organization, structure, and prose of fiction writing would be greatly appreciated.

Brian
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Old 03-23-2017, 10:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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If you're interested in being a full time, publisher-published author, you need an agent. And to get an agent, you need a kick-*** query letter. And to get a good query letter, you really, really, really need experience. Or an MFA. Or some awards or...something.

It used to be different. If you could write, you used to be able to send an unsolicited manuscript to a publisher, where it would go into a slush pile. It wouldn't be read quickly, but it would be read eventually in a few months or years, by an intern, usually. And if it was decent, it was passed on to an assistant editor. And if it was really good, it was passed on to an editor. And then you got a call.

Sometime in the last twenty years, though, things changed drastically. Most publishing houses don't accept unsolicited manuscripts anymore. They want to be approached by agents. And since agents don't have the staff to read through slush piles, they rely entirely on query letters.

(If you don't know, a query letter is basically a cover letter for a writing sample that you send to an agent or publisher. The query usually has three parts: a short introduction, a synopsis of your story, and a list of your qualifications. Then a writing sample is attached.)

And sadly, from all the interviews I've watched with agents, it seems they don't even read the first two parts of the query. Most agents skip to the end where you're supposed to list off all the great things you've already done, like....oh, say that MFA you've earned, or that workshop you attended, or that short story contest you won. They want to see that you've already accomplished something. Otherwise they usually assume you're not worth their valuable time.

So, if you don't have anything to put in that last paragraph, I would actually start there. I'm not saying to quit your day job and go back to school for an MFA, but look into workshops. Research writing contests in your genre. Submit stories to literary magazines. That's where your priorities should be.

Once you have a goal in mind, then you can worry about how to write better stories.
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