Editorial & Writer's Block


Tell us what you thought about the October 2012 issue!

Moderator: Editors

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 2503

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Mass, USA

Post October 21, 2012, 12:44:02 PM

Editorial & Writer's Block

Now there's a topic I have kept a passing interest in. Some thoughts:

- Some of it depends on which category you are best at. I am only moderately talented at fiction on my best days and pretty jammed up the rest of the time. But I do seem to be able to produce 500-1000 word opinion pieces pretty fast on a variety of topics - witness this post! :wink:

- I have a big move to NYC coming up, which for the short term is jamming me even more with all the prep work which runs counter to my lack of concentration to begin with. However I hope to symbolically use the transition as a focus aid when I get there to try to finally complete the quarter-baked projects floating between my notes and my head.

- Little tools. Over on DonationCoder.com, which is a site that helps give people little software freeware tools on demand, I just picked up a little widget-program which I will nickname "turbo-backspace". While big editing can wait for later parts of the writing process, I don't like typos if I see them. From my writing style, all my typos are of the "extra junk character" type, followed by another few keys before my fingers slow down for my eyes to catch up. So this little widget speed-deletes either the last 4 or last 7 keystrokes, and that micro savings of time is rather nice.
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 1171

Joined: October 06, 2008, 06:53:45 AM

Location: Chantilly VA

Post October 21, 2012, 05:22:41 PM

Re: Editorial & Writer's Block

I can't spell for shit, and my grammar skills are 3rd grade. That is not going to help me.

RT
User avatar

Senior Editor

Posts: 1065

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Northeast Georgia, USA

Post October 24, 2012, 11:52:20 AM

Re: Editorial & Writer's Block

For me, a new editorial is more difficult to start than a new story. A new story usually has some sort of springboard scene already visualized in my mind. If I can recapture that scene in words, then the story has a better possibility of flowing on from there. Sometimes that springboard scene is in the middle of a story, sometimes at the end, and sometimes the story demands that it be the opening scene. But editorials usually start off with a blank page, needing to be filled before the deadline. It isn't the deadline itself that bothers me, it's more the need to create from nothing on demand. I might have a predetermined topic for my editorials once or twice a year. The rest are just me sitting down to write one day, a week or so before the new issue goes live.

I imagine that November's editorial might be either something about how much I've gotten done during the layoff, or about my birthday, or about how the plans for the next Atlanta steampunk convention are progressing.

I imagine that the December/January editorial might be about how happy I am to have the layoff over and be collecting a weekly paycheck again, or how we had to tighten up the budget to muddle through, or problems getting my unemployment processed. Or not. I haven't the foggiest idea.

I imagine the first line of the February editorial is going to say something about the Mayan calender madness, and will probably be very smug or condescending towards those who bought into it. Or the world might have ended, LOL!

Dan
"Extremely difficult- Virtually impossible- However, it should only take me ten minutes or so..."
Brice Linch - Max Headroom

Master Critic

Posts: 3595

Joined: September 17, 2008, 10:10:20 PM

Post October 24, 2012, 12:36:23 PM

Re: Editorial & Writer's Block

Vila wrote:...A new story usually has some sort of springboard scene already visualized in my mind. If I can recapture that scene in words, then the story has a better possibility of flowing on from there. Sometimes that springboard scene is in the middle of a story, sometimes at the end, and sometimes the story demands that it be the opening scene.

Dan, this is great! I have had these scenes in my mind all of my life, but I haven't moved to write them as a "springboard" to flesh out a story concept, moving forwards, backwards and or sideways through the plot development.

This really helps!

Mark

Master Critic

Posts: 3595

Joined: September 17, 2008, 10:10:20 PM

Post October 24, 2012, 12:40:30 PM

Re: Editorial & Writer's Block

Vila wrote:...But editorials usually start off with a blank page, needing to be filled before the deadline. It isn't the deadline itself that bothers me, it's more the need to create from nothing on demand.

Non fiction is the easiest thing in the world to me. I lay out the points in outline form first and then add the language.

I'd rather write as I go, more satisfying but, outline form is way faster and I can concentrate on the language and know where I'm going without thinking about it as I write.

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 2503

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Mass, USA

Post October 24, 2012, 07:43:49 PM

Re: Editorial & Writer's Block

Vila wrote:For me, a new editorial is more difficult to start than a new story.
...
I imagine the first line of the February editorial is going to say something about the Mayan calender madness, and will probably be very smug or condescending towards those who bought into it. Or the world might have ended, LOL!
Dan


Just goes to show how different writers have different styles. I'll try to keep this brief heh.

I don't know many people who really treat the Mayan thing seriously. I think we're even passing a bit beyond the golden era of New Age. The Mayan thing showed up in someone's calculations done a certain way, and because it was all cool and South American-y, it became sorta a viral meme. But every use I've seen it has been either for comedy or figurative growth. I'm sure we'll get 100 stories (out of millions of people remember!) of people who sold their homes etc, but basically it will all be old hat by the following week.

But then I don't see the *next* beautiful New Age meme - it's like the Mayan one siphoned off the critical momentum of the New Age movement, and all that's left is the eddy currents. Just for giggles I'll leave the cliffhanger that there's a *Buddhist* supermeme coming up right after the Mayan one, but that's a topic for another day that someone can find me and talk in messages maybe. : )

So there ya go - that was me being brief! So I'm not sure what the differences between Editorials and Essays are, I just know I can peel off 500 words of essay about 500 times faster than a story!

Master Critic

Posts: 3595

Joined: September 17, 2008, 10:10:20 PM

Post October 24, 2012, 08:30:13 PM

Re: Editorial & Writer's Block

TaoPhoenix wrote:...So I'm not sure what the differences between Editorials and Essays are, I just know I can peel off 500 words of essay about 500 times faster than a story!

That's because you're gifted!

You don't acknowledge it, because you sell yourself short.
User avatar

Senior Editor

Posts: 1065

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Northeast Georgia, USA

Post October 26, 2012, 01:51:03 PM

Re: Editorial & Writer's Block

Mark Edgemon wrote:Dan, this is great! I have had these scenes in my mind all of my life, but I haven't moved to write them as a "springboard" to flesh out a story concept, moving forwards, backwards and or sideways through the plot development.

This really helps!

Mark


There is an old essay of mine in the Archives. It's from back when Aphelion was only two years old. It's a simplistic look at how I worked on many of the stories I was writing back then. The biggest things that have changed over the years is that I've adopted additional methods of writing and new programs to work with.

http://www.aphelion-webzine.com/features/process.htm is the link.
"Extremely difficult- Virtually impossible- However, it should only take me ten minutes or so..."
Brice Linch - Max Headroom

Master Critic

Posts: 1193

Joined: June 05, 2011, 02:05:03 AM

Post October 26, 2012, 11:52:39 PM

Re: Editorial & Writer's Block

Editorial & Writers Block

By: (blank thoughts)

I...
I...
I...
Mm..
OK...
Let's see...
(shit)
^
^
^
Just what is it you mean? You mean to say what? Just say it, see what I mean?
To write is to breath is to be until...
Yes, until your life takes your breath away.
*
Essay, Editorial, Exist, Exit; words, all words and all words come from the mother and father,
words may seem different
but w-o-r-d-s are all, all, all, all, the same.
*
Just what is it you mean? You mean to say what? Just say it, see what I mean?
Who is this mother and father?
(shit robin, you're strange)
*
a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h.i.j.k.l.m.n.o.p.q.r.s.t.u.v.w.x.y.z
(translated into Arabic, Swahili, German...see what I mean?
The mother and father is only one 'thing'.
The brain.
*
To never,
to never
to n-e-v-e-r ever have writers block, STOP, listening to the brain.
Brain: Bio-computer craving sucrose instead of computing what the writer needs.
Instead,
listen to the rain,
see the birds
feel the sex
taste the wine
with these emotions you will see what I mean.
*
Now, back to poetry,
I...
I...
I...
(shit)
See what I mean?

Master Critic

Posts: 3595

Joined: September 17, 2008, 10:10:20 PM

Post October 27, 2012, 02:31:52 AM

Morning Has Broken

Vila wrote:
Mark Edgemon wrote:Dan, this is great! I have had these scenes in my mind all of my life, but I haven't moved to write them as a "springboard" to flesh out a story concept, moving forwards, backwards and or sideways through the plot development.

This really helps!

Mark


There is an old essay of mine in the Archives. It's from back when Aphelion was only two years old. It's a simplistic look at how I worked on many of the stories I was writing back then. The biggest things that have changed over the years is that I've adopted additional methods of writing and new programs to work with.

http://www.aphelion-webzine.com/features/process.htm is the link.

Dan,

Your essay may have changed my life or at least the lives of the characters that are about to be born into many future universes. I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate your sharing your valuable insight.

I've been getting movie concepts at least 2-3 each day, everyday of my life. I have seen scenes in my mind, but isolated scenes without complete storyline and so mostly I have let them go into the stratosphere without logging them. It is strange that I put hardwork into script writing, but not into literary work. I suppose I have written stories through the years to merely amuse myself. Since I see things in a unique perspective, very few others can get inside what I have written and so my literary works do not capture the audience's imagination. However, when writing scripts, I always write for the audience, whether I enjoy what I have written or not. I derive income from script writing, but on the most part come in 6th in a 5 entry flash challenge.

I have never thought of writing BOTH an outline and scenes as they come to me and mixing them together. Wow! I have not thought of writing whatever scene that I am currently inspired with and then began to write a backstory to the scene and an ultimate story conclusion on demand.

Double wow!

I am beyond grateful to you Dan for sharing your method of writing. I really am!

I can't wait to apply these techniques to the very next story I write...which can't be soon enough!

With great appreciation,

Mark
User avatar

Senior Editor

Posts: 1065

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Northeast Georgia, USA

Post October 27, 2012, 11:13:57 AM

Re: Editorial & Writer's Block

Mark, you're quite welcome. And thank you for the kind words.

I'm a firm believer in everyone developing their own style of working. Different projects may call out for differing methods. Sometimes I use an outline, sometimes I just let the words flow however they come to me. Sometimes I'll write notes for scenes or plot points on index cards, then move them around like puzzle pieces until I find the best fit. Sometimes I'll just fill a page with random lines, then pick one that sparks off an idea that I can develop further. Everyone makes up their own tricks.

My oldest attempt at a novel had five different narrators who swapped chapters. The plan was to slowly bring them together as the story progressed, then show them going their different ways after the story's climatic scene. Even these days I'm usually guilty of having more going on in a story than I can bring directly to the reader's attention. "Fly By Wire" was basically three stories blended together. Each of the three main characters had their own story, running parallel with each other. Although, it might be more accurate to say that there were three beginnings, three separate stories that occasionally enter-twined like strands of a rope, then three endings. That got changed in the editing and rewrites, but some of that structure is still visible in the final version. But even when that story ended, there were things left unresolved that could eventually lead to further stories. Things I knew, but had nothing to do with the story at hand. One is being written up now, but others probably never will be. In fact, some of them can't be written because my vision was different from Jeff's and Bob's for the series. Since the main characters weren't mine, I needed to stick to what Jeff wanted. That is by no means a bad thing. I tend to come up with grand, sweeping, epic playgrounds for characters to dance around in. I need an editor to rein me in. I really do work better with someone telling me when I've strayed too far off the main story.

And I've still got a lot more to learn. If anything I've learned so far can help someone else, then I'm happy to oblige.
"Extremely difficult- Virtually impossible- However, it should only take me ten minutes or so..."
Brice Linch - Max Headroom

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 2503

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Mass, USA

Post October 27, 2012, 11:59:22 PM

Re: Editorial & Writer's Block

I remember that on a few tricky projects I did well with about four text windows open at a time, (sometimes closing one and opening another, maybe a total of 7-8 in a project).

Then for example one was the main thrust, one was "footnotes", one was spin off points, one was lists of terms and factoids, and so on. Because all the stuff would make a colossal mess in one file, I just wrote sorta in "circles" around and around.

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 2503

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Mass, USA

Post October 31, 2012, 04:54:51 AM

Re: Editorial & Writer's Block

In my little corner south of Boston, even we lost power for some 10 hours. I've been on a night owl schedule, so that left me awake facing a big chunk of hours! But at least I'd done a passable job preparing for that eventuality, so I was armed with a flashlight running on D batteries, a portable CD player, cheap headphones, and the CD's I'd pre-sorted years earlier as being "listenable". It's tough to pick music when you don't even know what mood you're aiming for! But after a few early tests, the winner was a pleasantly nondescript band called the Seahorses. So I played that a few times in a row, and read two mainstream non-genre stories by Grace Paley. While not my favorite stories, I noticed that I will be soon moving to an "ethnic" city, and Grace Paley's stories were reflecting that tone. Once the contrast became apparent, I realized there seems to be relatively little ethnic flavor in a lot of modern fiction. So I'll see later if I like her as a writing model, or will simply move on to the next candidate.

Master Critic

Posts: 3595

Joined: September 17, 2008, 10:10:20 PM

Post October 31, 2012, 11:02:58 AM

Re: Editorial & Writer's Block

TaoPhoenix wrote:In my little corner south of Boston, even we lost power for some 10 hours. I've been on a night owl schedule, so that left me awake facing a big chunk of hours! But at least I'd done a passable job preparing for that eventuality, so I was armed with a flashlight running on D batteries, a portable CD player, cheap headphones, and the CD's I'd pre-sorted years earlier as being "listenable". It's tough to pick music when you don't even know what mood you're aiming for! But after a few early tests, the winner was a pleasantly nondescript band called the Seahorses. So I played that a few times in a row, and read two mainstream non-genre stories by Grace Paley. While not my favorite stories, I noticed that I will be soon moving to an "ethnic" city, and Grace Paley's stories were reflecting that tone. Once the contrast became apparent, I realized there seems to be relatively little ethnic flavor in a lot of modern fiction. So I'll see later if I like her as a writing model, or will simply move on to the next candidate.

I stand completely amazed at your easy flowing, non fiction writing ability and wish you would do something with it professionally. Income awaits!

Mark
User avatar

Long Fiction Editor

Posts: 2621

Joined: January 11, 2010, 12:03:56 AM

Location: by the time you read this, I'll be somewhere else

Post October 31, 2012, 12:23:40 PM

Re: Editorial & Writer's Block

Want some ethnic flavor for your fiction? This isn't bad . . .

http://www.gocomics.com/getfuzzy#mutable_850609
I was raised by humans. What's your excuse?

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 2503

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Mass, USA

Post November 01, 2012, 04:18:30 AM

Re: Editorial & Writer's Block

Lester Curtis wrote:Want some ethnic flavor for your fiction? This isn't bad . . .
http://www.gocomics.com/getfuzzy#mutable_850609


Gak! I missed a word! Maybe to be sure "Modern Fiction" doesn't have much ethnic color, but in fact I think I wanted to say "Modern *Science Fiction*"! As a quick example the Solaris Book of New Science Fiction vol 3 and The New Space Opera don't contain much ethnic flavor at all over 1,000 cumulative pages. I think maybe it comes from Science Fiction's American roots and even British authors Americanize their stories, and the foreign stories simply aren't often published in the US.

Edit: I walked into it again. What does "Americanize" even mean? Unfortunately I think I for one slip into thinking it is White "standardized" style that we have come to recognize from media broadcasts. That's a shame because if people immigrate from other lands, it shouldn't mean their entire heritage is worthless.
Last edited by TaoPhoenix on November 01, 2012, 04:58:32 AM, edited 1 time in total.

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 2503

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Mass, USA

Post November 01, 2012, 04:19:56 AM

Re: Editorial & Writer's Block

Mark Edgemon wrote:
TaoPhoenix wrote:I stand completely amazed at your easy flowing, non fiction writing ability and wish you would do something with it professionally. Income awaits!
Mark


As always I appreciate the encouragement Mark! My family has been talking over my future and maybe some openings will pop up in New York here and there.

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 2503

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Mass, USA

Post November 06, 2012, 03:35:18 PM

Re: Editorial & Writer's Block

TaoPhoenix wrote:In my little corner south of Boston, even we lost power for some 10 hours...and read two mainstream non-genre stories by Grace Paley. While not my favorite stories, I noticed that I will be soon moving to an "ethnic" city, and Grace Paley's stories were reflecting that tone. Once the contrast became apparent, I realized there seems to be relatively little ethnic flavor in a lot of modern fiction. So I'll see later if I like her as a writing model, or will simply move on to the next candidate.


I am moving, as some of you know. The Grace Paley book vanished somewhere, either into a box or to the book donation company, so it's now gone. I did snag a couple of other short story books to keep near the top of the pile, and at the last minute I saved my Dean Koontz collection. Maybe for first inspiration, it's him - he writes more "thriller" than "horror" and a lot of his characters have disabilities which is a nice touch I haven't seen often in other places. For example when someone has medical-grade adverse reactions to sunlight, entire plot points can emerge from the character having to develop a lifestyle of never ever going outside before like 6-8PM.

Return to October 2012

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware.