Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

Pick me ups (1 Viewer)

KatPC

Senior Member
A silly thread that I hope some may participate, if not you can get your red pen out and mark out my mistakes.

I love to write, I'm not very good, but I love the thought, the process, the start of holding a word and developing a story. During the day, during work, I could paint the picture. The characters form, the dialogues, the ebbs and flows of a scene, the conclusion, for me it takes away the daily strains of life. It picks me up during the mundane and tough and when I head back home, after a late night shower, I will sit in front of the laptop and type my story. I don't have the time to finish it one go, but putting the black onto the white is so gratifying, another lovely pick me up before I go to bed.

I have finished many short stories, and the joy that it brings completing each one always fills the mind with confidence, with purpose but also belief. Usually this erodes as I enter the draft phases with Fear walking in, his hands on his hips with that ugly 'I have got you' smirk on his face. He has this ridiculous black mustache that curls at the end wearing this tight fitting cowboys outfit, walking into my room, every time, the dark tanned skinny guy wrapping his arms around my shoulders as I press send in my email. And there it goes, my story, travelling through space and wires or whatnot, to the few people I have, hoping they would like. Fear then likes to hang around for a bit, smoke a cigar, pull out the whiskey, smiling each time I glance his way, showing me his crooked stained yellow teeth with his God awful bad breath drifting my way - he is someone I wish to rid, but I make a lovely cuppa tea, and he likes my tea, with four sugars so he hangs around for many a week, talking about how he has knocked down the greatest people in the world just by his stare. Scary guy.

I love to write though. Even in bad days, I look to the white screen, with a head full of sorrow and let it go - The perfect pick me up for the overly thinking mind.

So what's your writing pick me up? Is it finding that perfect sentence? The perfect word for that awkward one? Is it piecing the story together? Is it finishing? Is it enjoying the ride? I don't know, but I'd love to have a little read, not about Fear though, he's still here nest to me, smiling, watching me to press the [Post Thread] button.

Thanks for reading.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
First, your post above tells an interesting, well-presented story. So enough of this nonsense about you being "not very good". :)

I love me some good dialogue. People, not the least of which includes me, seem to think I write good dialogue. If I'm ever sitting here wondering where the story should go, these days I just start writing dialogue, and something in there sparks a good idea, plus I tell a lot of story in dialogue ... create personalities ... find humor ... and create or relieve tension. And I'm lucky that my dialogue just flows. I never get stuck for an idea while I'm writing it. I have to be careful it doesn't OVERflow. Every good dialogue must come to an end.

In the current project with PiP, a bit of incidental dialogue promised an action by a character. He said he'd help my MC to find prompts to write three needed songs. I happened to have chosen three off the cuff, not as a plan. Then I had to think up something interesting for how he'd help create those three prompts. I already had one solution ... it's the focus of the book. So I needed two more, and their next dialogue produced an idea covering all three. The "helps" cover four chapters in the book. That helps to get the book written! LOL
 
Last edited:

Ralph Rotten

Staff member
Mentor
Often my pick-me-up comes during doublebacks.
Every hundred or so pages I go back and make sure the characters are tight and the story is still on the right trajectory...and as I do I often find myself pleased with what I am reading. The whole time I was writing it I was half-sure that it was all crap...but then during a doubleback I discover that it actually flows well, or that the characters really interact in a fun way.
It is the one time that I am happy to be wrong.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
Often my pick-me-up comes during doublebacks.
Every hundred or so pages I go back and make sure the characters are tight and the story is still on the right trajectory...and as I do I often find myself pleased with what I am reading. The whole time I was writing it I was half-sure that it was all crap...but then during a doubleback I discover that it actually flows well, or that the characters really interact in a fun way.
It is the one time that I am happy to be wrong.
That's the part that always gets me in trouble, because if it's really good, I think "Where did that come from, and can I do that again?" LOL
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
It's two things for me really. Right now it's only one but that'll change come Feb.

1: I love words, sentences and paragraphs. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to pick apart my paragraphs and adjust them until they're as tight as I can possibly make them.

2: After I've gone through the above, reading the complete piece out loud.
 

KatPC

Senior Member
First, your post above tells an interesting, well-presented story. So enough of this nonsense about you being "not very good". :)
I tap on Fear's shoulder. He's resting his dirty boots on my table with his cowboy's hat over his eyes,
"Hey I've actually tricked someone with magic," I say to him.
He swings his feet round, face forward onto the screen, I guess he has bad eyesight, weird for a gun slinger.
"HA," Fear says, "That fool, he will still turn round and figure out the truth!"
I push his face away, the Ranger's kind words ruminating.
"I'm going to print it and stick in on the wall," I said to Fear, his eyes glaring back, unmoved. Maybe he is scared?
I love me some good dialogue. People, not the least of which includes me, seem to think I write good dialogue. If I'm ever sitting here wondering where the story should go, these days I just start writing dialogue, and something in there sparks a good idea, plus I tell a lot of story in dialogue ... create personalities ... find humor ... and create or relieve tension. And I'm lucky that my dialogue just flows. I never get stuck for an idea while I'm writing it. I have to be careful it doesn't OVERflow. Every good dialogue must come to an end.

In the current project with PiP, a bit of incidental dialogue promised an action by a character. He said he'd help my MC to find prompts to write three needed songs. I happened to have chosen three off the cuff, not as a plan. Then I had to think up something interesting for how he'd help create those three prompts. I already had one solution ... it's the focus of the book. So I needed two more, and their next dialogue produced an idea covering all three. The "helps" cover four chapters in the book. That helps to get the book written! LOL
- Side tracking a little here, but I know you have probably written about this in a thread(s) somewhere, but can I ask what prompted you to do a cooperation piece and a genre change? Is it the challenge? A favour? A lost bet? lol

Often my pick-me-up comes during doublebacks.
Every hundred or so pages I go back and make sure the characters are tight and the story is still on the right trajectory...and as I do I often find myself pleased with what I am reading. The whole time I was writing it I was half-sure that it was all crap...but then during a doubleback I discover that it actually flows well, or that the characters really interact in a fun way.
It is the one time that I am happy to be wrong.
Can I ask how long after do you do a doubleback? And is it just reading and editing at the same time? I think I have a huge blind spot when I do this.

It's two things for me really. Right now it's only one but that'll change come Feb.

1: I love words, sentences and paragraphs. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to pick apart my paragraphs and adjust them until they're as tight as I can possibly make them.

2: After I've gone through the above, reading the complete piece out loud.
1. I know - it's great to see how you deconstruct a sentence.
2. This is actually a serious question too, but do you ... and/or others ... actually read out loud? And do you print your work out to read out loud, or print and quietly mutter the story out?
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
1. I know - it's great to see how you deconstruct a sentence.
2. This is actually a serious question too, but do you ... and/or others ... actually read out loud? And do you print your work out to read out loud, or print and quietly mutter the story out?
Yes, I read every single word over and over until it feels right in my mouth. If I stumble or get tongue tied, I take another look at the sentence. I read it for other reasons too. I'll use a soft voice to see if it's got a nice feel or rhythm. I'll use a harder, firmer voice to see if the syntax is sharp. I'll use a deeper, more serious voice to see if what I've written has gravitas.

If I hit all three I'm golden.
 

KatPC

Senior Member
@TheMightyAz Your reply really caught me off guard but why do you read in 3 tones? How does it help refining a sentence?

As an eg:
"She's slow."
I can see the difference in character if a soft voice portrayed this sentence (sorry not really a sentence really ... the 2 words)
But then if i used a harder voice, this gives me a picture of a stern 'teacher-esk' guy making a statement
A deeper voice feels like an elder quite annoyed and in deep contemplation.

Have I completely lost the tones reading? Sorry.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
@TheMightyAz Your reply really caught me off guard but why do you read in 3 tones? How does it help refining a sentence?

As an eg:
"She's slow."
I can see the difference in character if a soft voice portrayed this sentence (sorry not really a sentence really ... the 2 words)
But then if i used a harder voice, this gives me a picture of a stern 'teacher-esk' guy making a statement
A deeper voice feels like an elder quite annoyed and in deep contemplation.

Have I completely lost the tones reading? Sorry.
Naa, I don't use it in a way that changes the meaning. I'm looking for flow (soft voice), interesting syntax (harder voice, concentrating on each word), and gravitas (a voice with weight and authority)

edit: And just to add to that, I take those voices into the writing process too.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
- Side tracking a little here, but I know you have probably written about this in a thread(s) somewhere, but can I ask what prompted you to do a cooperation piece and a genre change? Is it the challenge? A favour? A lost bet? lol
Last spring Foxee ran the first collaboration challenge, with a theme about (something like) distrust. PiP decided to join in, asked for a volunteer to partner with her, and I raised my hand. PiP has written a lot of poetry, and I've written a lot of song lyrics (and some music), so we had the idea of a songwriter contacting a poet (Cal and Julia) to option one of her poems to adapt to song lyrics. The "distrust" was the songwriter didn't really have a lot of respect for the process (he was told by his boss, the singer, to do it), and the poet was certain her work would be bastardized as they were turned into lyrics for a country/western song. We did it as a series of emails between the two, where they wrote the email, and then we had what they really thought, which did not match what they wrote.

The result was funny and people liked it.

We did a different sort of story for the second challenge, and then the third challenge was anything to do with Summertime. We had joked about the possibility of a "Cal and Julia sequel", where Julia comes from London to the USA to attend a concert and hear "her song" in person, so we decided to do that for Summertime. 3000 words into the 1050-word limit for the challenge, I asked PiP if she would be interested in dropping the challenge and going for a novel. It was obvious we can both turn out the words, and generally fairly amusing words. So we started writing the novel in the last half of August and are halfway (or better) through it now. I just wrote about half of Chapter 13 today ... PiP wrote the last major scene in Chapter 12 earlier today.

Genre:
With the male songwriter and the lady poet as our MCs, and the start of a classic antithetical romance already laying the foundation, the novel could only be a Rom Com. I have considered writing a Romance, but it was nowhere near the top of my future projects list. As we've progressed, I came to realize that the character-based approach I take in Sci-Fi and Fantasy works just as well for contemporary fiction. I'd already completed outlining a murder mystery (almost contemporary-set in the 1970s), but romance will only play a minor role there. After all the fantasy and sci-fi I've written in my life, I'd be highly amused if my first agent attention came from a Rom Com. LOL But ... it could happen.
 

Ralph Rotten

Staff member
Mentor
Can I ask how long after do you do a doubleback? And is it just reading and editing at the same time? I think I have a huge blind spot when I do this.

Every hundred pages or so.
Doubling back this way serves several purposes:
1) Better characters in the beginning of the story where they are typically thinnest.
2) Time dilation; it takes hours and hours to write a chapter...but the reader can burn through it in minutes. Doublebacks help put this factor in perspective.
3) Arc. Doublebacks every hundred pages or so helps ensure that the story is on the proper trajectory. If you wait until the end...it could be waaay off and that takes a ton of work to fix.
4) Patterns and holes. Doublebacks help you discover problematic patterns and holes sooner (while they are still easy to fix.) Twice the work to fix these if you wait till the whole book is written.
5) Final editing phase is much, much shorter (and a lot less painful). With doublebacks, that first read-thru is actually quite pleasing. Editing is a breeze because you have already gone over the material many times.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
Every hundred pages or so.
I do something like that, too, but in addition I always read at least the previous scene before I start a writing session. It helps me anchor myself back into the current place in the story, and make sure my voice stays consistent ... which is ESPECIALLY necessary now that I'm writing one novel and collaborating on another, and the two voices are widely different.
 

KatPC

Senior Member
Last spring Foxee ran the first collaboration challenge, with a theme about (something like) distrust. PiP decided to join in, asked for a volunteer to partner with her, and I raised my hand. PiP has written a lot of poetry, and I've written a lot of song lyrics (and some music), so we had the idea of a songwriter contacting a poet (Cal and Julia) to option one of her poems to adapt to song lyrics. The "distrust" was the songwriter didn't really have a lot of respect for the process (he was told by his boss, the singer, to do it), and the poet was certain her work would be bastardized as they were turned into lyrics for a country/western song. We did it as a series of emails between the two, where they wrote the email, and then we had what they really thought, which did not match what they wrote.

The result was funny and people liked it.
I know this is becoming a Q&A about things rather than the title of thread, but weren't you worried about styles clashing or were there enough crossover that made a collaboration - a not so crazy idea? If someone saw my process of how to build a story (it is very bizarre and 'loose,' very much panstering my around - not muddling, there is method to my madness) but I don't think I would be compatible to anyone. And ... during my research, a lot of authors have stated they will never give out first drafts to anyone (!) so do you have to run a few drafts before handing over your 'assignment' to PiP? Or does one have the role of editing the combined works together so they don't seem mishmashed?
We did a different sort of story for the second challenge, and then the third challenge was anything to do with Summertime. We had joked about the possibility of a "Cal and Julia sequel", where Julia comes from London to the USA to attend a concert and hear "her song" in person, so we decided to do that for Summertime. 3000 words into the 1050-word limit for the challenge, I asked PiP if she would be interested in dropping the challenge and going for a novel. It was obvious we can both turn out the words, and generally fairly amusing words. So we started writing the novel in the last half of August and are halfway (or better) through it now. I just wrote about half of Chapter 13 today ... PiP wrote the last major scene in Chapter 12 earlier today.

Genre:
With the male songwriter and the lady poet as our MCs, and the start of a classic antithetical romance already laying the foundation, the novel could only be a Rom Com. I have considered writing a Romance, but it was nowhere near the top of my future projects list. As we've progressed, I came to realize that the character-based approach I take in Sci-Fi and Fantasy works just as well for contemporary fiction. I'd already completed outlining a murder mystery (almost contemporary-set in the 1970s), but romance will only play a minor role there. After all the fantasy and sci-fi I've written in my life, I'd be highly amused if my first agent attention came from a Rom Com. LOL But ... it could happen.
Interesting. So basically, if you and PiP have amazing success in this 'project,' (sorry i dislike this word, but it's late UK time here and it would be rude of me not to reply) it is all down to @Foxee ? A matching making saint? Interesting ... didn't knew the forum had fixaupper services too.

Every hundred pages or so.
Doubling back this way serves several purposes:
1) Better characters in the beginning of the story where they are typically thinnest.
2) Time dilation; it takes hours and hours to write a chapter...but the reader can burn through it in minutes. Doublebacks help put this factor in perspective.
3) Arc. Doublebacks every hundred pages or so helps ensure that the story is on the proper trajectory. If you wait until the end...it could be waaay off and that takes a ton of work to fix.
4) Patterns and holes. Doublebacks help you discover problematic patterns and holes sooner (while they are still easy to fix.) Twice the work to fix these if you wait till the whole book is written.
5) Final editing phase is much, much shorter (and a lot less painful). With doublebacks, that first read-thru is actually quite pleasing. Editing is a breeze because you have already gone over the material many times.
I know this advice should be part of an editing thread but 100 pages feels a lot? I finished my first draft (novel) at the start of the year and I'm not sure if it is 100 pages in total! I split the story into 7 folders, with each folder containing chapters of where the story should lead to. Before I went through each folder and ran through the chapters to see how the story read, but I made such a hash of the first draft that I added a lot more to fill out the plot holes and mistakes, and with it being a very personal piece, I have had to put it down and focus on short stories, build up a better writing style and drafting techniques to go back to amend the mess. Any suggestions on short stories? A lot of my shorts range from 2k to 4k, ... punchy stories I call them.
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
Fear walking in, his hands on his hips with that ugly 'I have got you' smirk on his face. He has this ridiculous black mustache that curls at the end wearing this tight fitting cowboys outfit, walking into my room, every time, the dark tanned skinny guy wrapping his arms around my shoulders as I press send in my email. And there it goes, my story, travelling through space and wires or whatnot, to the few people I have, hoping they would like. Fear then likes to hang around for a bit, smoke a cigar, pull out the whiskey, smiling each time I glance his way, showing me his crooked stained yellow teeth with his God awful bad breath drifting my way - he is someone I wish to rid, but I make a lovely cuppa tea, and he likes my tea, with four sugars so he hangs around for many a week, talking about how he has knocked down the greatest people in the world just by his stare.
I love how you wrote this. Fear is handy for pointing out what you should do next by scaring you about it. Good thing he likes your tea.
Interesting. So basically, if you and PiP have amazing success in this 'project,' (sorry i dislike this word, but it's late UK time here and it would be rude of me not to reply) it is all down to @Foxee ? A matching making saint? Interesting ... didn't knew the forum had fixaupper services too.
You bet! Sometimes all a beautiful partnership needs to get started is the equivalent of a high school mixer with a bit of spiked punch. PiP and Vranger found a compatibility that surprised even them, I think. KJ Merriweb "Water Comes to Mars" is a team that worked out well enough to give themselves a pen name. Darren and Jenthepen had a marvelous story back in may, "Victorian Battery Acid". There is even a 'Collaboration' tag in the Workshop for this. If you'd like to visit the Collaborators and see how it allegedly works go here.

Back to our regularly scheduled post...about pick-me-ups.

I like the idea of looking at writing as a pick-me-up. It can be, I know that when I sit down and turn my hourglass over and bang out fifteen minutes worth of words, I do feel better. A little accomplishment. I know that I gave my subconscious something to mull over even if I have to go do other things so that pays dividends later.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
I know this is becoming a Q&A about things rather than the title of thread, but weren't you worried about styles clashing or were there enough crossover that made a collaboration - a not so crazy idea? If someone saw my process of how to build a story (it is very bizarre and 'loose,' very much panstering my around - not muddling, there is method to my madness) but I don't think I would be compatible to anyone. And ... during my research, a lot of authors have stated they will never give out first drafts to anyone (!) so do you have to run a few drafts before handing over your 'assignment' to PiP? Or does one have the role of editing the combined works together so they don't seem mishmashed?
We might not have been a good match, but fortunately, we are. Yes, in a collaboration, you have to plan ahead, and we have a light synopsis which may or may not wind up defining the rest of the book. Still, surprises crop up from things we've thrown into scenes. When they look like something fun that could have legs, we add them to the story.

Very important, we're mature writers who can take our ego out of it. I've made some suggestions for @PiP s side of the story, and she was very accepting of them. She doesn't like a couple of pieces of dialogue I wrote for her character, as written, and I'm fine with her revising them ... in fact, eager to see what she does with them. I'm interested to see if she likes enough of my ideas in those two scenes that I'll still recognize them when she's finished. LOL

Style and voice aren't a concern for me. I've written enough that I can adapt to different styles and voices ... including ... I write with different voices for different projects anyway.

We both get our chapters/scenes (at the point we're at, mostly like every chapter from here on out will have mixed content) into decent shape, but we're not worried about each other seeing the rough. I have a good bit of editing experience, and so we seem to have settled on me doing the technical edits. I'm also keeping the manuscript organized and reconciled between my Scrivener project and the chapters in Google Docs ... and at times that is a painstaking effort ... but it's necessary. This isn't a lark. It's two experienced writers doing work. It must be approached maturely and professionally. It doesn't mean we can't have fun. This is a blast, but doing the job is more important than having the blast.

Interesting. So basically, if you and PiP have amazing success in this 'project,' (sorry i dislike this word, but it's late UK time here and it would be rude of me not to reply) it is all down to @Foxee ? A matching making saint? Interesting ... didn't knew the forum had fixaupper services too.
She didn't make the match, but we're grateful she launched the challenge. :) Go try it out. She just announced a new one.
 
Last edited:

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
You bet! Sometimes all a beautiful partnership needs to get started is the equivalent of a high school mixer with a bit of spiked punch. PiP and Vranger found a compatibility that surprised even them.
To be honest, I wasn't all that surprised. I'd already read some of @PiP 's "bad day travelogue's" (very amusing), so I was likely more familiar with her prose than she with mine. I had them in mind when I suggested we do humor. I'd even had a vagrant thought we could write something good if we extended the Cal and Julia story, so when we ran over on Summertime, my question to her about taking it to a novel wasn't out of the blue. It was out of the back of my mind, though.
 

PiP

Staff member
Co-Owner
@KatPC the first thing to do is advertise for a partner for the Foxee's collab challenge. It's only a 1000 words?

In a strange way our collab works because we are both personality Type A . Which means we are both totally focused on completing the project it could also have meant we disagree a lot ... but we don't.

Regardless of style, the point Jim @vranger makes here is key.
Very important, we're mature writers who can take our ego out of it. I've made some suggestions for @PiP s side of the story, and she was very accepting of them. She doesn't like a couple of pieces of dialogue I wrote for her character, as written, and I'm fine with her revising them ... in fact, eager to see what she does with them. I'm interested to see if she likes enough of my ideas in those two scenes that I'll still recognize them when she's finished. LOL
 

KatPC

Senior Member
I love how you wrote this. Fear is handy for pointing out what you should do next by scaring you about it. Good thing he likes your tea.
Foxee, he sits here all the time, it's not really made up! But I'm British, we make the best tea.
You bet! Sometimes all a beautiful partnership needs to get started is the equivalent of a high school mixer with a bit of spiked punch. PiP and Vranger found a compatibility that surprised even them, I think. KJ Merriweb "Water Comes to Mars" is a team that worked out well enough to give themselves a pen name. Darren and Jenthepen had a marvelous story back in may, "Victorian Battery Acid". There is even a 'Collaboration' tag in the Workshop for this. If you'd like to visit the Collaborators and see how it allegedly works go here.
This is tempting ...
Back to our regularly scheduled post...about pick-me-ups.

I like the idea of looking at writing as a pick-me-up. It can be, I know that when I sit down and turn my hourglass over and bang out fifteen minutes worth of words, I do feel better. A little accomplishment. I know that I gave my subconscious something to mull over even if I have to go do other things so that pays dividends later.
Lately I have been in a short story writing frenzy. There are so many stories wanting to escape that it's annoying me and I'm struggling to find the time to let them escape. My shorts aren't very long ... around the 3-4k mark, but I'm getting a big list of first drafts done that will need a lot of TLC as the head churns another story ... it is a lovely stress though, when the head is laying the story out, it is great fun.
We might not have been a good match, but fortunately, we are. Yes, in a collaboration, you have to plan ahead, and we have a light synopsis which may or may not wind up defining the rest of the book. Still, surprises crop up from things we've thrown into scenes. When they look like something fun that could have legs, we add them to the story.

Very important, we're mature writers who can take our ego out of it. I've made some suggestions for @PiP s side of the story, and she was very accepting of them. She doesn't like a couple of pieces of dialogue I wrote for her character, as written, and I'm fine with her revising them ... in fact, eager to see what she does with them. I'm interested to see if she likes enough of my ideas in those two scenes that I'll still recognize them when she's finished. LOL
Ego. I like that, they do say it takes two to tango, but I guess you have known each other for a while which makes collaboration easier? There is already a respect for each others work making it easier to get along?
Style and voice aren't a concern for me. I've written enough that I can adapt to different styles and voices ... including ... I write with different voices for different projects anyway.
Chameleon!
We both get our chapters/scenes (at the point we're at, mostly like every chapter from here on out will have mixed content) into decent shape, but we're not worried about each other seeing the rough. I have a good bit of editing experience, and so we seem to have settled on me doing the technical edits. I'm also keeping the manuscript organized and reconciled between my Scrivener project and the chapters in Google Docs ... and at times that is a painstaking effort ... but it's necessary. This isn't a lark. It's two experienced writers doing work. It must be approached maturely and professionally. It doesn't mean we can't have fun. This is a blast, but doing the job is more important than having the blast.


She didn't make the match, but we're grateful she launched the challenge. :) Go try it out. She just announced a new one.

@KatPC the first thing to do is advertise for a partner for the Foxee's collab challenge. It's only a 1000 words?

In a strange way our collab works because we are both personality Type A . Which means we are both totally focused on completing the project it could also have meant we disagree a lot ... but we don't.

Regardless of style, the point Jim @vranger makes here is key.
I will have a look when I get some time (I hate it when others write this, but my head is getting clogged up - I have 3 stories trapped banging to escape and I need to get them down before they go! but i will definitely have a look and post an ad!) Scary thought, this match making service, I hope the algorithms on the forum work ;)
 
Top