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A Writing Masterclass  [message #74881] Sun, 16 September 2018 12:13 Go to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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Do we have enough interest from authors to develop some pages for the site to help others with their writing? Most people who write are good at different areas.

I'm thinking of headings such as:
  • How to start and how not to
  • How to end and how not to
  • Dialogue vs prose, and what the differences are
  • What to do about adverbs
  • Is 'he said' better than multiple variants?
  • Use of names - when, where, how often?
  • Use of first person vs third person voice. NOTE, these are voices not points of view. Is it ever valid to swap people and use first person voice for each, for example?
  • Use of Point of View. And yes it can alter even in third person voice
  • Narrators

You may have other headings. You may not want to contribute to all the headings.

My thinking is to build a page or set of pages where attributable thoughts are put forward for others to consider. We could dry run them here or just assemble them.

I'm thinking of Fair Use of segments of stories to show good practice. If we are showing poor practice that should be from pieces we have written ourselves and are mature enough about to know they are not top notch. I think everyone has written things they could have written better! I prefer showing good things. "Try it this way" is far more use than"This piece was bad, never do that!"

Ok, the first part of this is an expression of interest. Don't answer the questions yet! Just reply to say that you will participate, if you will!

Me?  I'm in!

[Updated on: Sun, 16 September 2018 12:15]




Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #74907 is a reply to message #74881] Sun, 23 September 2018 13:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United States

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It seems that we do not. Pity.



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #74908 is a reply to message #74907] Sun, 23 September 2018 13:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message
cm is currently offline  cm   United Kingdom

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Been away for a few days. Count me in (although quite what advice I'm qualified to give, I'm not sure....)
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #74909 is a reply to message #74908] Sun, 23 September 2018 16:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United States

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That's two of us. Welcome aboard.

Unless anyone thinks of a better way I'm thinking of each contributor choosing a section and simply saying how they approach it, with examples if they are sensible. I see scope for multiple contributors to the same section, each with attributable thoughts.

I have no deadlines here, so wil start the section as and when parts are created.

Writing has no hard and fast rules. So I suggest a format of "I find this approach works well for me" as the probable most appropriate way of giving advice. The "What I do" approach I like.

Obviously there are some 100% 'please do not do this' things.



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #74911 is a reply to message #74909] Mon, 24 September 2018 03:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United States

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I have this type of thing in mind.

I've started. It's easier to join in to thinsg that have been started. If it gets unwieldy I'll split it into sections. I have not yet added it to the site index. There needs to be more meat on it for that.



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #74914 is a reply to message #74911] Mon, 24 September 2018 17:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
William King is currently offline  William King   France

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I started reading what you have written about opening paragraphs, how to start. It was fascinating. It made me examine my own openings, and I think I could contribute something here. Not quite a masterclass in the true sense, but rather in the style of these are ways I have used, what I hoped to achieve, and that might provoke ideas for story openings that could be used to grab your audience. I'll see if I can put something together for this. Now you've started you have peaked my interest, it's always fascinating hearing how authors have approached their writing. Simply from that we can all make progress, new and seasoned writers. Thanks for starting, let's see if others join in.
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #74915 is a reply to message #74881] Mon, 24 September 2018 18:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The Composer is currently offline  The Composer   United Kingdom

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Okay, I'll bite.

The opening of a story is obviously very important. "It was a dark and stormy night..." And so on. What is much more important is how the story ends. A story needs conflict and resolution. For the sort of stories we are talking about here, there is too little conflict; resolution is very difficult; and often the stories fade into nothingness.

The stories we are talking about involve the attraction between teenagers of the same gender. Almost always, they are living at home with their parents. They fall deeply in lurve with another boy. It is very rare for parents to accept this, let alone condone this. So how is the ending to be resolved?  In most stories, very badly!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #74916 is a reply to message #74915] Mon, 24 September 2018 21:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United States

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This is going well. Obviously the page is a bit of a mess yet, but it is a doodle pad so far. I will split it into topic areas when I add it to the site menus and release it properly into the wild, so forgive the structure that you see.

What I think you can start to see is some form arriving. We have examples, we have advice, and different folk are contibuting in different areas. None of us is an expert in all things. And it is not just my voice!

I don't want to take a major part myself, I think we have enough experts around to make my own contrinution simply part of it. I also don't know as much as I think I know!



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #74919 is a reply to message #74916] Tue, 25 September 2018 17:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United States

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I think we have enough to start to make it live. It will start to appear in the left hand menu in the next few minutes.

Please do not let the fact that I'm enjoying contributing deter you, perhaps especially if you have a different view from me!

http://forum.iomfats.org/?t=getfile&id=4781&private=0

I'm still fiddling with presentation, but this is broadly the finished style, because it meets the house style of the site



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #74920 is a reply to message #74919] Tue, 25 September 2018 19:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The Composer is currently offline  The Composer   United Kingdom

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What's wrong with adverbs?
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #74921 is a reply to message #74920] Tue, 25 September 2018 21:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United States

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They are great in the right place. They are instructive, and tell you what is happening or is to happen, but they do not show it to you.

In non fiction, an adverb reigns supreme, but in fiction we can do far better than an adverb. Ours is not the realm of brevity and prose description, ours is the realm of fantasy, quests, resolution, and none of that happens adverbially. The probelm is that it is damned hard to remember to write round them.



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #74923 is a reply to message #74881] Wed, 26 September 2018 00:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
chrisr is currently offline  chrisr   Netherlands

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One of the most important issues in writing stories in this genre: character development. Too often the characters, particularly in shorter stories, neither grow nor change.
Knot too menchen duh knead fur editers!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #74925 is a reply to message #74923] Wed, 26 September 2018 07:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United States

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"chrisr wrote on Wed, 26 September 2018 01:31"
One of the most important issues in writing stories in this genre: character development. Too often the characters, particularly in shorter stories, neither grow nor change.
Knot too menchen duh knead fur editers!

--
Ah poof ridding! Even editors fail to pick some of that up. At least I imagine you mean the search fir typos. Editing is far larger, something J K Rowling was in severe need of.

Do you fancy picking up and starting a segment on characterisation and character development?

[Updated on: Wed, 26 September 2018 07:29]




Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #74931 is a reply to message #74925] Thu, 27 September 2018 21:23 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United States

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At present I would say this is going medium well. I Like the contrinution we have, and I truly do not want this to be about me, so we need more folks having a shot at it. I am not editing any contributions, I'm compiling them instead.



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #74934 is a reply to message #74925] Fri, 28 September 2018 04:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
chrisr is currently offline  chrisr   United States

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Mea culpa. Certainly wish that I could, but character development is one of those thing I generally recognize primarily in its absence. And at that it's one of those niggling little "Something's missing!" things. It's simply not generally a skillset one learns when writing office reports. Sorry.
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #74935 is a reply to message #74934] Fri, 28 September 2018 06:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United States

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"chrisr wrote on Fri, 28 September 2018 05:08"
Mea culpa. Certainly wish that I could, but character development is one of those thing I generally recognize primarily in its absence. And at that it's one of those niggling little "Something's missing!" things. It's simply not generally a skillset one learns when writing office reports. Sorry.

--
Do you know, that is a start. I wonder if someone would like to develop it?



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #74944 is a reply to message #74935] Sun, 30 September 2018 14:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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I just added a segment on Dialogue. I'm wondering where other thoughts are, though.



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
We are moving ahead.  [message #74952 is a reply to message #74944] Tue, 02 October 2018 16:18 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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We are moving forwards. Geron Kees has also promised me a small piece in the Characters section which is really just there pre-populated awaiting his getting the chance to finish it.
http://forum.iomfats.org/?t=getfile&id=4794&private=0

The interesting element here is researching this material, and then making it manageable. I'm still concerned that this is mostly "about me" so to speak. So maybe I'd better set out how I learned the elements I know. I joined a literary web site, "Litopia" and participated in it for a twelvemonth or so. I recommend it most strongly.

I submitted a piece that I thought showed merit in order to request admission to the inner sanctum. It was viewed as having insufficient merit, but that in itself taught me a lot, and, looking at the tale with today's eyes, I can see it was a poor story. The premise was fine, but the writing failed the tale.

I learned, though, how to read as a literary critic, a vicious and persnickety art, as well as reading as a publisher and reading as a reader. We, here, will not reach the hights of Litopia. I commend it to all who wish to improve their writing, but we will help those who have no desire to expose their tales to dissection.


That's all very well, but your opinions matter here, not 'just' mine. I'm well aware that I run a benevolent dictatorship in that I am the sole arbiter of stories on the site, but I want to improve as well.



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #74960 is a reply to message #74881] Sat, 06 October 2018 14:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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We are moving forwards and, most important, we have contributions form authors, either ready now and included, or promised for the future.

See how it is growing in the left hand margin:

http://forum.iomfats.org/?t=getfile&id=4801&private=0

The masterclass will never be closed to contributions, you may contribute now, or at any time in the future. Now is good, though. Is a topic heading is absent, even if that is all you will contrinbute, tell me the topic heading that's needed. If you have some text to add, even if not an author, add it by emailing me. If you have a criticism of what is there already, let me know. I want to publish your criticism as a section in that segnment, because that is also how we learn.



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #74968 is a reply to message #74881] Tue, 09 October 2018 16:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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How do you think we're doing?

What is missing?

What woudl you like to contribute perosnally?



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #74983 is a reply to message #74968] Sat, 13 October 2018 20:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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Well, I know c m is writing something about sentence length. And I'm hoping for more from others, even if it repeats what someone else has said. After all, this is a Multi Author masterclass.

http://forum.iomfats.org/?t=getfile&id=4820&private=0

We have a reasonable set of topics, but unreasonably one major contributor. We need that major contrinutor to be put into persective, please, and that is even if what he says is good!



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #74997 is a reply to message #74983] Wed, 17 October 2018 19:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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Progress is steady. Ivor Slipper joined us today. We now have this much progress:

http://forum.iomfats.org/?t=getfile&id=4836&private=0

That doesn't show when material has been added to segments, but hey, you can cope.

Still very much looking for input

No feedback from you yet, either.



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #75001 is a reply to message #74997] Thu, 18 October 2018 12:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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c m joined us today with a piece on sentence length and I'm struggling to find anything to add to it.



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #75006 is a reply to message #75001] Fri, 19 October 2018 17:33 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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We are still growing the Masterclass, and I think we are at the point where we can ask for opinions.

Writing Masterclass

Authors, How Useful Readers, How Interesting is this Masterclass?
Vote for every answer you find appropriate
You may vote more than once

I'm an author - Very Useful
I'm an author - I learned some things
I'm an author - Interesting, but not useful for my work
As a reader - Wow, there's a lot to it
As a reader - I picked up a few things
As a reader - I am now thinking of writing
As a reader - a bit of a yawn, really


Current Results




Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #75073 is a reply to message #75006] Fri, 02 November 2018 15:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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The high speed growth of the segments has stopped, pretty much, but there are some additions. One was added today. It is not finished, because your thoughts are not all there yet!

Should I read anything into the lack of responses in the poll?



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #75111 is a reply to message #75073] Mon, 05 November 2018 19:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Dominick St James is currently offline  Dominick St James   United Kingdom

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I'd like to add a bit about dialogue versus narrative prose, as follows:

A reader usually laps up stuff told to him via dialogue, much more readily than he does from the story's narrative prose. It operates as a direct injection into his awareness of where he's at with the story. He picks up things directly from 'listening' to what the character's saying.It's therefore a good vehicle for giving the reader, story info and details, and reminding him, and reaffirming stuff he's perhaps been told some while ago. He will tend to accept and digest it more readily, because he's 'overhearing' it from the speech of a character, first hand. Here's an example of info dialogue:

"Wow, awesome. It's frikking huge, I can't even see the mast top. Where've you come from in it?"

"She's a one fifty foot sloop, not that huge with what's in the harbour. We're fifteen days out of San Juan, Puerto Rico."


And in third person narrative:

Rory goggled at what looked like a large ocean going yacht and wondered where it had come from. Nicky told him they'd come from Puerto Rico.

I've downplayed the narrative, but in comparing the two examples, see how you're not only given more information in the dialogue form, but it's told to you in a lively intimate manner. Rory's obviously delighted and very impressed and Nicky is cool and proud. In tandem, we might also imagine them eyeing each other up during this transaction, if the story bears out that context. To create this in a full narrative would take a deal longer and seem, wooden - just information for scene setting.

[Updated on: Mon, 05 November 2018 19:43]

Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #75113 is a reply to message #75111] Mon, 05 November 2018 20:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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Excellent, thank you.  Incorporated.  You will need to refresh the page.



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #75116 is a reply to message #74881] Tue, 06 November 2018 08:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
William King is currently offline  William King   France

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@Dominick St James  I understanding what you are saying about the descriptive dialogue. However, I would make the point that the dialogue is harder to read and because it's harder to read it has two results: slows down your reading (you might have to read it twice) or results in mis-understanding, even skipped and not registered. 

Let me explain: "Wow, awesome. It's frikking huge, I can't even see the mast top. Where've you come from in it?"
"She's a one fifty foot sloop, not that huge with what's in the harbour. We're fifteen days out of San Juan, Puerto Rico."

Frikking makes me stop, I have to register what the word means, it's not part of my common vocabulary.
Where've, the same, people do say that, but it gives a pause to register.
one fifty foot sloop, here I have to work out that he means a one hundred and fifty foot boat (the length, not the height of the mast), and what is a sloop. I know that's a type of boat, but I'd have to look it up to find out more. 

I'm not saying the dialogue doesn't do exactly what you describe, but the flipside is, it slows the reading

Rory goggled at what looked like a large ocean going yacht and wondered where it had come from. Nicky told him they'd come from Puerto Rico.
The narrative tells me exactly what's going on, without slowing things up or having to look up "sloop," but isn't very exciting.

I would probably combine the two: "Wow! Awesome! It's frikking huge. I can't even see the top of the mast." Rory wondered where it had come from. The large ocean going yatch was a hundred and fifty feet long, but not the biggest in the harbour. "She's a one fifty foot sloop, not that huge," Nicky grinned. "We're fifteen days out of San Juan, Puerto Rico."

You know the expression? "The best of both worlds," anyway, just another point of view.

[Updated on: Tue, 06 November 2018 08:57]

Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #75118 is a reply to message #75116] Tue, 06 November 2018 11:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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"William King wrote on Tue, 06 November 2018 08:56"
@Dominick St James  I understanding what you are saying about the descriptive dialogue. However, I would make the point that the dialogue is harder to read and because it's harder to read it has two results: slows down your reading (you might have to read it twice) or results in mis-understanding, even skipped and not registered. 

Let me explain: "Wow, awesome. It's frikking huge, I can't even see the mast top. Where've you come from in it?"
"She's a one fifty foot sloop, not that huge with what's in the harbour. We're fifteen days out of San Juan, Puerto Rico."

Frikking makes me stop, I have to register what the word means, it's not part of my common vocabulary.
Where've, the same, people do say that, but it gives a pause to register.
one fifty foot sloop, here I have to work out that he means a one hundred and fifty foot boat (the length, not the height of the mast), and what is a sloop. I know that's a type of boat, but I'd have to look it up to find out more. 

I'm not saying the dialogue doesn't do exactly what you describe, but the flipside is, it slows the reading

Rory goggled at what looked like a large ocean going yacht and wondered where it had come from. Nicky told him they'd come from Puerto Rico.
The narrative tells me exactly what's going on, without slowing things up or having to look up "sloop," but isn't very exciting.

I would probably combine the two: "Wow! Awesome! It's frikking huge. I can't even see the top of the mast." Rory wondered where it had come from. The large ocean going yatch was a hundred and fifty feet long, but not the biggest in the harbour. "She's a one fifty foot sloop, not that huge," Nicky grinned. "We're fifteen days out of San Juan, Puerto Rico."

You know the expression? "The best of both worlds," anyway, just another point of view.

--
I see where you're coming from, William. I disgaree about 'frikking' and 'where've', but I agree about the length of the vessel.  This leads me to writing conventions.

Numbers up to but not including 10 are expected to be written in words, one, two, three, etc. Ten and above, unless they start a sentence are to be written as numbers. It is thus a 150 foot sloop, or a 150' sloop. As we speak the words aloud it works, but, since we are reading, we need the one hundred-ness thrust upon us. My eyes read a 50' sloop. Oh, I kind of work out that a sloop is some sort of boat from the context. I can look it up if I want to.

[Updated on: Tue, 06 November 2018 14:52]




Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #75122 is a reply to message #75118] Tue, 06 November 2018 11:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
William King is currently offline  William King   France

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Tim, you made me wonder if there should be a resources section, when you mentioned writing numbers. I was given this website http://theeditorsblog.net/2013/01/13/numbers-in-fiction/  which I refer to as a reference.
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #75124 is a reply to message #75122] Tue, 06 November 2018 12:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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We could do that, but the question I have is whether we want to write a rule book (basics), or offer insight and a class that is higher than the basics.  

I see from your link that I use newspaper rules. Mine come from a pedantic English teacher in the second half of the 1960s



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #75125 is a reply to message #75118] Tue, 06 November 2018 13:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Dominick St James is currently offline  Dominick St James   United Kingdom

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I prefer to write everything out, especially when it's in dialogue. Digits of any quantity in prose put me off. it feels like the author's on a track about something else, or he's instructing me in mathematical exatitude. I feel similarly about abreviations, both in narrative and dialogue, my style is to write them out, 'Mister', 'Missus', 'Doctor', 'etcetera', for example. They're spoken as words, after all. 


Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #75126 is a reply to message #75125] Tue, 06 November 2018 14:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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I think, Dominick, that is an 'author style issue' which I have no quarrel with. I happen to be a pedantic old scrote, but I learned a long time ago to advise rather than to direct. I prefer Mr to mister, but that is because I recognise it easily. I'm never going to argue with an author whose style is the opposite. Readability is the only truly important rule.



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: A Writing Masterclass  [message #75137 is a reply to message #74881] Fri, 09 November 2018 23:39 Go to previous message
timmy   United Kingdom

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An obvious new segment, but so obvious it passed me by! The Usage and Abusage of English is now present.

As usual more contributions are welcome. 



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
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